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May 15, 2009On the heels of winning the state indoor long jump at just over 23-feet, it's safe to say recruiting has definitely picked up for New Orleans (O.P. Walker High School) athlete Urell Johnson.
The 6-foot-1, 185 pound cornerback prospect said on Thursday that he's picked up offers this week from Virginia, Nebraska and Tulsa.
Those three are added to what's turning into an impressive offer sheet that already included invitations from Baylor, Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, and Southern Miss.
"There's been a lot of coaches come by my high school this week," Johnson said. "All three of the schools that offered this week dropped by, plus a coach from Texas Tech."
Johnson said that so far Ole Miss coaches haven't been by, but he continues to receive a lot of mail from the Rebel staff.
And, it hasn't escaped Johnson that a former O.P. Walker player is on the Rebel roster - senior safety Kendrick Lewis.
"I don't know Kendrick personally," Johnson said. "But as a former player from here, I look up to him and follow him. I'd like to meet him and get to know him."
Lewis played through his high school junior season at O.P. Walker before being displaced by Hurricane Katrina. He moved to Gainesville, Ga. where he played his senior season before returning to New Orleans after things returned to normal.
One other O.P. Walker alumnus is also getting involved in Johnson's recruitment.
Former Ole Miss assistant coach Frank Wilson, who recruited Lewis to Ole Miss, is now an assistant coach at Tennessee and is recruiting his old school for the Volunteers. Wilson was head coach at O.P. Walker in 2004 before being hired at Ole Miss in 2005.
However, with it being five years since he left the New Orleans area, the impact Wilson once had on high school prospects is fading because those top prospects of today were in middle school when he was a then well-known coach in the New Orleans high school system.
"I've talked with coach Wilson but really didn't know him before he started recruiting me," Johnson said. "He wants me to camp up there and I'm thinking pretty hard about doing that."
So far, neither Ole Miss nor Tennessee has offered.
Johnson said he grew up a fan of Miami and has had some discussions with Miami coaches but any serious interest apparently has developed at this point.
Johnson said he was undecided about summer camps, but said he may camp at both Ole Miss and Tennessee.
He said the main thing he's looking for in a school is an opportunity for quick playing time and a school with good graduation rates.
Johnson reports a 3.2 GPA and said he made a 16 on his first ACT attempt and will re-take the test next month to try to improve his score.
Mississippi State NEWS