Montini’s Johnson picks Iowa
Updated: July 7, 2011 7:35PM
It’s been an eventful year already for Jaleel Johnson, and he’s hoping the highlight reel isn’t close to being over.
The 6-foot-2, 277-pound defensive tackle has switched high school programs, leaving St. Joseph to join perennial power Montini. And on Thursday, Johnson ended his recruiting by giving an oral commitment to Iowa.
“It came down to Michigan State and Iowa,” Johnson said Thursday at a gathering of elite prospects at U.S. Cellular Field. “The moment I got to Iowa, I just felt it was the place for me. Great coaching staff, great facilities, great tradition.”
Johnson also had made official visits to Minnesota, Wisconsin and Northwestern, and had additional offers from the likes of Arizona, Boston College and Tennessee.
But his two trips to Iowa City since March convinced him the Hawkeyes were the way to go. Now he concentrates on helping Montini go after its third consecutive Class 5A state title and fourth since 2004.
“It’s been a great transition,” he said of the move from St. Joseph, which has struggled to be competitive in the East Suburban Catholic Conference. “The weight program is a lot better. I’m in a great environment (with) a great coach (Chris Andriano).”
The stakes have been raised significantly at his new school, which is fine with Johnson. “It’s something you have to deal with,” he said. “We have a chip on our shoulder just to prove we are the state champs. At St. Joe’s there were no expectations to live up to. Coming to Montini, I have to uphold being a Division I prospect and being a state champ as well.”
Though he’s already a Big Ten recruit, Johnson isn’t complacent by any means. “I want to get better at being quick off the ball,” he said. “That’s what I’ll get at Montini.”