It's been a wild couple weeks for Clear Springs wide receiver Marcus Johnson. Just a few weeks ago, the lanky, 6-1, 180-pounder was committed to Texas Tech. Less than a week ago, Johnson committed to Texas A&M following a visit.
On Thursday, Johnson opened up his recruitment with the news that he make an official visit to Austin for the team banquet on December 9, another in a long line of high-profile visitors for the Longhorns. Then, only hours later, Hookem.com reported that his high school coach has confirmed an offer for Johnson.
If Johnson does indeed have an offer -- and it may only take the visit to Texas to make it official -- Johnson will almost certainly commit to Texas. A lifelong fan, Johnson has been proactive in recent weeks communicating his interest to the Texas staff. At this point, it appears that the commitment to Texas A&M was simply a placeholding move to ensure he had what he perceived as a better situation than Texas Tech, all while waiting for the Longhorns to make a final move.
As of Thursday afternoon, Texas A&M coaches had made the trip to Clear Springs in an apparent effort to keep Johnson in the fold. It hasn't been a good week for Aggies.
Following the news that Johnson had again opened up his recruitment, my take was that the Longhorns would only take four potential wide receivers in the class with a commitment from DGB, with Athens athlete Kendall Sanders looking like another potential commitment in the near future and flashing some serious ability with the ball in his hands. Now it looks like Texas may be willing to take all both Sanders and Johnson, alll while still waiting for the potential for an outside shot at DGB to miraculously happen, which is still not off the table, just unlikely.
Attrition at the wide receiver position throughout the spring and fall has opened up some spots moving forward, but the offer for Johnson could potentially herald more attrition to come, with sophomore Darius White, as always, the most likely candidate. Other than that, the only likely player to leave the program is redshirt junior DeSean Hales, who could opt to forego his senior season and give up football. The other receivers currently on the roster all seem invested in the program, with the outside possibility that something could happen with injured redshirt freshman John Harris, the master of odd, cryptic tweets.
As far as what Johnson could, and probably will, bring to the Texas recruiting class, in many ways his skillset is similar to Kendall Sanders. Both are about the size typical for flankers, with elite or near-elite ability to make defenders miss in a phone booth and long strides that still somehow allow both to reach top speed in a flash.
Even more impressive than his speed and elusiveness is his body control, which allows him to make an incredible number of catches along the sideline for a high school player. In fact, in several years of watching highlights, I'm not sure that I've ever seen someone who not only has that developed of any ability to bring in those throws, but also does it so consistently.
So even though Sanders and Johnson look pretty similar, the thought here is that Johnson is a better deep and intermediate threat than Sanders, who could quickly become effective at Texas if he sticks on offense on end arounds or jet sweeps and in the wide receiver screen game.
Of course, it remains to be seen if Texas will indeed take both and if Sanders will end up on offense, but the future of the Texas receiving corps -- and the playmaking potentially contained therein -- looks like it could be a lot different than it did mere weeks ago.
It's clear that this staff is going to continue working and evaluating and recruiting players late into the process, no matter their commitment status or perceived value early in the process. And that will only help the program moving forward.
Marcus Johnson Highlights (via 247SportsStudio)