- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
When ESPN 300 quarterback Jeremy Johnson (Montgomery, Ala./Carver) found out that Auburn had hired Gus Malzahn to be the next head coach, he was not only relieved, but he knew he was going to stick with his original commitment.
The two have a history. It was Malzahn who first offered Johnson a scholarship when he was Auburn’s offensive coordinator.
“I was happy,” Johnson said. “I was happy because Coach Malzahn was the first person who gave me the offer. Now that he’s back at Auburn, it pretty much seals the deal with everything because we already had that relationship with each other. I’m just happy, and I can relax now.”
The offer first came when Johnson attended Auburn’s camp before his junior year. At the time, Malzahn said the 6-foot-5, 215-pound quarterback would be a perfect fit for his offense, and that Johnson would have the chance to play early. Nothing’s changed now that Malzahn is back.
“Me, him and Coach Chizik sat down, and they were like, ‘We need a person like you to come in and play as a true freshman,’ ” Johnson said. “ ‘We feel like you can get the job done, and you would be the perfect fit for this offense.’ From that point on, I just fell in love with Auburn.”
Johnson received the Malzahn news from AU assistant coach Trooper Taylor, but there’s been no word on whether or not Malzahn plans to keep Taylor on his staff.
For Johnson, he’s just glad the coaching search is over and that he knows who his head coach will be. It got a little crazy with some of the possible names that were being thrown around.
“At first, I didn’t know who they were going to hire for sure,” Johnson said. “I kept hearing Petrino, but I never really met him before. Then I heard Coach Malzahn and another time I heard Coach Kirby Smart, so it was getting crazy. I kept calling, asking who it was going to be.”
Since the hire became official, Johnson has already reached out to fellow Auburn commitment, ESPN 300 wide receiver Earnest Robinson, and Johnson said Robinson plans to stay with the Tigers as well.