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Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Johnson hesitant to name OSU his leader

By Jared Shanker

INDIANAPOLIS -- Turnabout is fair play, and Lonnie Johnson (Gary, Ind./West Side) is starting to play the recruiting game.

A longtime Ohio State lean who wanted to commit to the Buckeyes a few months ago, Johnson stopped himself short of naming Ohio State his leader Monday.

Asked if Ohio State was still his top school, Johnson said: “Yeah, Ohio State," then paused before he said "... really I got a three-headed dragon: It’s Illinois, Nebraska and Ohio State. They’re all at the top of my list. I don’t know where I’m going to go at this point.”

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound athlete was offered by Ohio State in December and wanted to commit shortly after, but the staff told Johnson to hold off on a decision a little longer.

Now, Johnson said the Buckeyes’ archrival Michigan is coming into the picture.

“They said once they get my transcript they’re going to offer me soon,” Johnson said. “Once they come back to the school and get my transcript, hopefully I’ll look for an offer.”

Johnson said he does not know much about Michigan, but he figures he would play receiver in Ann Arbor. He is looking forward to what the Michigan offense has in store in 2013 as it adapts to a more pro-style attack.

“They throw the ball and since Denard is going to be gone, I look forward to them throwing the ball a lot more now,” Johnson said.

Indiana is among the schools recruiting Johnson, and as a result, Texas A&M is now, too. Former Hoosiers assistant Mark Hagen left Bloomington for Texas A&M, and he let Johnson know the Aggies have him on their radar.

Johnson said Hagen reached out to him out of the blue, but he was happy to hear from Hagen. The two did not talk much when Hagen was at Indiana, but Johnson wants that to change.

“He hit me up and said 'I’m at Texas A&M and I’m gonna start recruiting you,' ” Johnson said. “If I get an offer maybe I can play with a Heisman Trophy winner [Johnny Manziel].”

Nebraska is also named among Johnson’s top schools, and he sees similarities between what the Huskers do offensively and what he does on his high school team.

“Nebraska, they’re just like West Side and run a fast-paced offense and a no-huddle just like us, so that’s a plus,” he said. “I’ll be used to it already if I go to Nebraska.”

Michigan State continues to recruit Johnson, who has a friend, Branden Dawson, on the Spartans basketball team.