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Monday, February 4, 2013
TCU gets sleeper with in-state ATH

By Damon Sayles

When Gainesville (Texas) coach Keith Hall looks at his star, multipurpose athlete Denzel Johnson, he automatically thinks of one player in particular.

“A few years ago, TCU had that kid from Sweeny [Texas] who played real well in the Rose Bowl,” Hall said, referring to linebacker Tank Carder, who now plays for the Cleveland Browns. “Denzel’s going to be that type of kid. He’s a diamond in the rough.”

Johnson now has that opportunity to be a Carder clone if he chooses, as he verbally committed to the Horned Frogs on Monday -- two days before national signing day. Considered a recruiting sleeper, Johnson was the do-it-all leader for a Gainesville team that advanced to the Texas Class 3A Division I quarterfinals.

Johnson threw for 1,117 yards and 12 touchdowns, but he also rushed for 1,064 yards and 10 touchdowns for Gainesville in the 2012 season. A 6-foot-2, 205-pound athlete, Johnson became TCU’s 19th overall commitment.

Hall’s accolades for Johnson are pretty high, but after the senior season he had, the comments are understood. Johnson can play multiple positions and settled in at quarterback for the Leopards, but he most likely will play either outside linebacker or safety for the Horned Frogs.

“He’s a tremendous athlete, and he was a great leader for us. That was his biggest deal,” Hall said. “He’s also a great leader in the classroom. He’s one of those who never gets in trouble.

“They’ve talked about safety or linebacker, but he may be just labeled as an athlete. There are so many things he can possibly do.”