Print and Go Back ESPN.com: On The Trail: Midlands Region [Print without images]

Tuesday, January 15, 2013
OT Johnson talks Wazzu visit, offers

By Sam Khan Jr.

It's going to be a busy January for Houston Bellaire offensive tackle Dwayne Johnson.

In many ways, it already has been busy for the former Purdue commitment. Every weekend leading up to national signing day will be used for an official visit as the 6-foot-6, 275-pound Johnson tries to find the right fit for his future.

The three-star tackle, who is ranked 42nd in the country at his position, recently returned from an official visit to Washington State, a school that recruited and offered him even before his original commitment to Purdue in August. The Cougars secured an official visit from Johnson, who decommitted from Purdue a week ago. According to Johnson, things went well.

"It was a nice trip," Johnson said. "The scenery was all nice. I got to know the coaches a little bit more and talked to Coach [Mike] Leach. It was just a nice trip."

He also got to see a familiar face. Former Bellaire teammate Keith Ewing is a freshman outside linebacker for the Cougars and served as Johnson's host.

"He played with me last year," Johnson said. "It went pretty good. Keith took care of me. It was great to see him again."

Johnson also had a positive impression of Leach.

"He's a pretty cool guy," Johnson said. "Just relaxed and calm. He has three simple rules: do things the right way, never hit a woman, and take care of your education. He was a pretty cool dude."

Academics is at the top of the list for Johnson and it was one of the many things he focused on during his trip.

"I learned more about the academic part of the school, I got to check out the campus and see how the campus life was," Johnson said. "I got to know more about the football program and see the facilities."

Now he will turn his attention to Nebraska. He talked on the phone Monday night to the coaches, who are preparing for his arrival for an official visit in Lincoln, Neb., this weekend.

"They just were saying they're really fired up about me coming and talked about giving me the itinerary and everything," he said. "They're excited to have me up this weekend."

Nebraska is one of many schools that have recently come into the picture. Arkansas and Oklahoma have begun pursuit as well. All three have extended offers. As for Nebraska, Johnson said he is looking forward to the trip.

"I'm very interested in them," Johnson said. "I'm looking forward to the trip. I also liked Washington State, but I'm looking forward to Nebraska also. I just want to go from there and get to know the coaches better, talk to them and check out the facilities."

After the Nebraska trip, Johnson will head to Norman, Okla., to visit the Sooners on Jan. 25, and then the final weekend before signing day, Feb. 1, is reserved for Fayetteville, Ark., to see the Razorbacks' campus.

Oklahoma offensive tackle and tight ends coach Bruce Kittle reached out to Johnson in recent weeks, and the Sooners offered Johnson about a week ago.

"They want me there in their program and they want me to come check it out," he said. "They believe I'll be a good fit and they just want me to be a part of it. So I thought I'd check it out."

He also is looking forward to the Arkansas trip. Offensive line coach Sam Pittman is pursuing Johnson for the Razorbacks.

"I'm pretty fired up about them also," Johnson said. "If you look at what all the coaches have done in the past and who they've built their players up to be, you can't go wrong with them also."

As Johnson mulls what fit will be best for him, several factors come into play.

"Academics is No. 1," Johnson said. "The football program and coaching stability. Also, how close they are as far as the faith in God and how close the team is."