UGA will be one of the five official visits for the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect from the junior college ranks.
Toby Johnson is a 6-foot-5, 310-pound defensive tackle from Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. He is rated as the country’s No. 1 JC player by 247sports.com, plans to graduate in December, and would provide an instant boost to a UGA defense which will be depleted by graduation next year.
“Yes, I know for a fact that Georgia is going to get an official visit,” Johnson told the AJC.
“I definitely feel good about Georgia. They are one of my top schools. I’ve got a real good relationship with coach Mark Richt. I feel like he’s a player’s coach.”
Johnson hasn’t set a date for his UGA trip, but said it will likely be for the Ole Miss game on Nov. 3 or for the team’s mid-December gala.
What’s the deal with Johnson? He grew up in Mississippi and moved to the Atlanta area to live with family when he was 14 years old. “I wasn’t a Georgia fan growing up but I wasn’t in the state early enough to grow up a fan of the Bulldogs. I liked Auburn and Mississippi State.”
After finishing at Banneker in 2010, Johnson signed with Hutchinson but decided instead to attend a prep school, Atlanta Sports Academy. “I left after a few months because I didn’t like it there.”
The following year, Johnson reported to Hutchinson and quickly emerged as one of the top players on a team loaded with D1 prospects. Johnson has around 31 football scholarship offers and has already taken one official visit, traveling to Oklahoma two weeks ago.
“I’d give it a 9 or 10,” said Johnson, when asked to rank his Oklahoma trip. “I just saw how they reacted to the loss to Kansas State. They’re not used to losing. You can just tell that Oklahoma is used to winning.”
What was the best thing that Bob Stoops said during the visit? “He just basically told me that no other place will give me the opportunity that they will. They have three seniors leaving on the defensive line, along with a junior that will probably leave early for the NFL.”
Was Johnson tempted to commit? “No, no, no. Out here, if you commit, you can’t go on any more official visits. You can’t do any of that out here. I’m not in any hurry to commit.”
What’s next for Johnson? He has scheduled an official visit to Ole Miss for Nov. 24. He hasn’t set up any other trips yet but said he was being recruited the hardest by UGA, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Miami and Ole Miss.
“I think I want to go to places that I’ve never seen before,” Johnson said. “I’ve never been to California so I might end up going to USC. I’ve never been to Florida so I might end up taking a visit to Florida or Miami. I want to go to places that I probably won’t ever see. I’m hoping to take all five visits.”
Johnson also stated that he does not have a leader or a timeline on reaching his college decision. “I really don’t have a date set. When I feel like it’s time to commit, I’m just going to do it.”
Note: Toby Johnson also clarified to the AJC that he was not part of any rumored “package deal” to Tennessee. The former assistant head coach at Hutchinson, Brandon Staley, joined Tennessee’s football staff last March, one month after another 5-star prospect from the junior college, Cordarrelle Patterson, signed with the Volunteers. Up until the final hours before signing day, nearly every recruiting analyst was predicting for Patterson to UGA.
A Tennessee spokesman told the AJC last March that there was “no correlation between his hire and Patterson.”
Ironically, Johnson’s roommate at Hutchinson last year was Patterson and his roommate this year is DT Ben Bradley, who is committed to Tennessee. It has fueled rumors that Johnson is set to the join the group in Rocky Top — which Johnson flat out denies.
“That coach went there because it was the best decision for him, while I need to go somewhere that is the best decision for me to help my family out. I’m not part of any package deal to Tennessee. I don’t know about CP and Ben, but I don’t think they were either. It’s just that [Staley] is a great coach. He’s one of the best coaches anywhere in junior college, and he got a great opportunity to coach at the next level. I think some more of our coaches this year will get the same opportunities. Then what are people going to say?”
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– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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