Jocquell Johnson has received valuable advice - on and off the field - from some of his older teammates at Callaway (Miss.) High School. But with former Callaway linemen Aaron Morris and Justin Bell about to begin their college careers, the 6-foot-5 and 290-pound junior knows he must step up.
For the past two years, offensive lineman "We got our helmets last week for spring practice and I am ready for it," said Johnson. "I know I have to step up and be a good leader and make sure we all stay on the right track. I believe I am prepared for that role. Aaron really helped me in telling me how to be a leader and telling me of my responsibilities as a leader. So he really helped to prepare me for this season."
Last year Johnson started at right tackle for Callaway head coach Daryl Jones. But his roles on the field could be a little different this year.
"Coach said he was putting me at left tackle," said Johnson. "But he said I could also move back to right tackle if they need me there. I will also be playing some at defensive end and noseguard. It will be a lot of work, for sure, this spring. But I like being on both sides and it gives me a good feel of how both lines operate."
Concerning the recruiting process, Johnson said he hasn't been able to visit any schools this spring. But that hasn't limited him from drawing interest from several schools.
"I've been working a lot so I haven't gone on any visits," said Johnson. "So there hasn't been any time to go and see any campuses. But Mississippi State, Arkansas and Ole Miss are recruiting me pretty hard and I am also getting letters from Nebraska and also Jackson State."
Johnson attended several MSU games last fall as well as going to games at Ole Miss. He noted that his relationship is still strong with the Bulldogs and plans to attend summer camp in Starkville.
"Things are going pretty good with Mississippi State," said Johnson. "I call Coach (Greg) Knox some and I stay in pretty good contact with them. I couldn't make it to their spring game or junior day but they let me know they still want me there and want me there for camp. And honestly, I am going to try to make as many camps as I can this summer to help improve my game."
Of the schools recruiting him, Johnson believes a few are close to offering him.
"I think Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Jackson State are close to offering," said Johnson. "Of that group I would say Mississippi State is sticking out to me the most. I say that because they stay in contact with me more and keep me updated with their program. They do that more than Ole Miss does.
"I also feel like it is another home when I go there. I also love their strength program and I feel they are coming up in the SEC."