Life Christian WR/DB Joe Johnson (Photo: Andy Hilton/recruit804)
Recruitment ends with a commitment to Penn State for Life Christian DB Joe Johnson, III
by Brandon Mitchell, recruit804
Life Christian Academy was the destination on Tuesday evening for many waiting to find out where starting defensive back Joe Johnson, III would be spending the next 2-4 years after graduation. For those not caught up to speed, the former Hermitage transfer committed to North Carolina State near the end of March. What many thought was the perfect fit for Johnson from both an academic and athletic perspective turned out to not be so as he then de-committed from the Wolfpack near the beginning of May.
Johnson (2020 DB/WR 6-3 180) opened his recruitment back up on May 8 which surprisingly still had NC State close to the driver’s seat. Ohio State, Texas A&M, and Penn State went on to round out the four teams poised to receive considerable thought prior to his commitment. Johnson made to sure to take multiple visits out to the aforementioned four with a meeting the Buckeyes coming on May 17, the Aggies on June 8, the Wolfpack on June 15, and the Nittany Lions on June 20. At the end of the day, the pitch from James Franklin and the Nitany Lions was too good to pass up as Penn State was able to lock-in a commitment from Joe Johnson, III.
“I really had to sit down and think about this because they were making it really hard for me to pick any other school,” Johnson told recruit804. “They were pushing me hard and the coach was texting me every day. When I went up there it just felt like family. The process was really hectic and really long. I’m just glad that it’s finally coming to an end. I’m happy for the opportunity to play at Happy Valley.”
The decision for Johnson to pick Penn State was not an easy decision. It all boiled down to the way the program and community made him feel when he went up for his visit combined with the tenacity of the coaching staff. The LCA product chose Penn State over a large contingent of programs which also included: Baylor, James Madison, West Virginia, Indiana, Duke, Virginia, Tennessee, Florida State, Rutgers, Florida, Fordham, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Liberty, Marshall, William and Mary, Howard, St. Francis, and Lynchburg.
His commitment allows him to put the rest of his focus on preparing for the regular season and helping the Eagles win a VISAA Division III state title this year. However, his initial target will be competing with Life Christian on July 12 in the Powerade 7-on-7 Invitational Tournament from Charlotte, North Carolina. The two-day event will field 32 programs from 19 states with Maury, Phoebus and Oscar Smith being the only other teams from Virginia to attend the event. If you would like to watch, there will be a few pool games being streamed on ESPN3 on Friday July 12) while the semi-finals and Championship Games (July 13) will be streamed on ESPNU.
– Brandon Mitchell