For most of the recruiting campaign it has appeared USC has held a firm upper hand with DE Brad Johnson of Pendleton. And the Gamecocks do remain in a strong place with him. But they have company from Virginia Tech.
The Hokies have made a concerted recruiting effort for Johnson and according to Pendleton coach Paul Sutherland, the Hokies are right there with the Gamecocks in the competition for his Shrine Bowl defensive end.
“Its 1A and 1B in no particular order,” Sutherland said. “I see it going either way there. He hasn’t told me that, I’m just telling you who has shown him the most interest and who he has talked to the most. And he’s very interested in Tennessee.”
Johnson’s last visit to USC was for the Gamecocks biggest moment of the season to date, the win over Tennessee on a Saturday night in Columbia.
“He absolutely loved the atmosphere,” the coach said. “He said it was everything he hoped it would be. His mom said they had a wonderful time.”
Johnson has not yet scheduled his official visits, and because he’s been to USC several times unofficially, Sutherland said he may opt to not take one with the Gamecocks. However, other official visits are in the works.
“I talked a long time today with Virginia Tech and the combination of them probably being in the ACC Championship Game and him being in the Shrine Bowl and the dead period, it’s looking like January for an official visit to Virginia Tech,” Sutherland said. “It’s looking like January for an official visit to Virginia Tech which is not ideal for any of us because he wanted a decision made by then. But Virginia Tech is a definite and he might go to Tennessee, Mississippi State and Texas A&M. And South Carolina, he may or may not take an official there just based on he’s been there so many times.”
Virginia Tech wanted Johnson to visit December 10th for their major weekend but he has to report to the Shrine Bowl that weekend, so January 22nd is the alternate date at this point.