February 1, 2008

Florida athlete going down to the wire

One of Ole Miss' biggest remaining targets is Largo, Fla. athlete Leonard Johnson and Johnson looks to be taking his decision down to the wire next Wednesday on National Signing Day.

"I didn't go to West Virginai last weekend but I'm heading up there tomorrow," Johnson said Thursday evening.

While Johnson appears set to head to Morgantown, the Mountaineers have some work to do in order to get in the thick of things.

"Right now, my favorites are Ole Miss, Florida Southern and Iowa State," Johnson said.

Johnson doesn't have a timetable for committing, but wants to make the visit this weekend and indicated his decision may not come until signing day - that decision being to stick with the verbal commitment he made to Iowa State in early January or to switch to another school.

Ole Miss doesn't have a lot of room on its signing day list for many more prospects - the Rebels already have 25 commitments and three early signees - but Johnson is clearly a priority. Rebel head football coach Houston Nutt indicated the Rebels will likely oversign by about three prospects, a practice commonly done in anticipation that some prospects will not qualify.

Ole Miss' interest was demonstrated on Thursday when Rebel recruiting coordinator Chris Vaughn spent time at Johnson's Largo High School and all paid a visit on Johnson Thursday evening.

Nutt made his in-home visit last week and left a good impression on Johnson. Johnson also gave his visit to Oxford last month high marks.

The Rebels are also getting some help from Rebel wide receiver Dexter McCluster, a former teammate of Johnson's in high school.

"Me and Dexter text message all the time," Johnson said. "But it's mainly about what's going on back home and not that much about recruiting."

McCluster was Johnson's escort during his official visit.

The 5-foot-10, 177 pound Johnson played quarterback in his four year career at Largo, but may project as a defensive back at the college level.

Johnson recently played in the FACA all-star game and made the most of it. Johnson ended up starting for his team in the game ahead of several much more experienced and very talented corners. He had six tackles and forced a fumble.

Johnson's Division I scholarship offer list for football around a dozen schools, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Memphis, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Purdue, South Florida, Troy and West Virginia, and Iowa State.

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