The Bulldogs had been in good position to sign Johnson before Signing Day a few weeks ago, but seemed to lose momentum as the class of 2013 signed. It was expected that Johnson would sign with either Mississippi State or Auburn instead of Georgia today.
Johnson was a significant target for Georgia in December, but Rodney Garner’s departure for Auburn paved way to confusion on Johnson’s status with Georgia. He met with Garner’s replacement, Chris Wilson, in January.
“I liked what I heard,” Johnson said after the meeting.
But Johnson took visits to Auburn and Mississippi State after his meeting with Wilson and momentum went away from the Bulldogs. Complicating matters more for all involved is Johnson’s recovery from an ACL injury he suffered in the fall. It is unclear when he will return to football, but playing in 2013 is not out of the question.
“I am only two and half months out of surgery and my doctor says that I am ahead of schedule," he said. “I feel like I will be ready to go by the time camp starts, but if am not, I am not going to rush it. I know I have a big future ahead of me, so I want to be careful and do what my doctors tell me to do. I know I am going to have an impact wherever I go. I just want to be sure that my knee gets back right, so I can play the way I am used to playing.”
That, as it turns out, is in Athens. Johnson is expected to graduate from Hutchinson in May and enroll in June.
“Toby is a really dynamic player player who is strong and quick," Hutchinson head coach Rion Rhoads said. "He is a very good pass rusher and was a key player for us. I doubt there was a team in the country that had a better combination of defensive linemen than we did with Toby and Ben Bradley. Toby is probably the better pass rusher of the two.”