Kerryon Johnson breaks it down

Kerryon Johnson breaks it down

It's about to be that time for one of the top prospects in the country. Scout.com's No. 4 running back prospect and No. 52 overall talent Kerryon Johnson is weeks away from a commitment between Alabama, Auburn and Florida State. He recently visited each finalist and is entering the evaluation stage of the process, and he breaks it all down with inside.

Kerryon Johnson might as well get used to the feeling he had early in the week with many people trying to figure out what's on his mind.

"It's been kind of crazy the last few days, but nothing too bad," he said with a laugh.

Many have been inquiring with the Madison (Ala.) Madison Academy star because after his most recent trip, to Florida State over the weekend, it's no secret that a commitment is right around the corner. Johnson tripped to Alabama and Auburn before the Tallahassee visit, needing to see each of the three finalists one more time before being ready to pull the trigger.

The decision will come within the next month or so, but the four-star running back is still deciphering his trip to see the reigning national champions.

"I got to spend a lot of time with the coaches, especially Coach [Jimbo] Fisher," he said. "I got to go with them and see the things they like to do with their running backs. That was really what I was looking forward to getting out of that.

"They have good running backs, but they're inexperienced. They don't really have as many as I thought they would."

Playing time often comes up as a supplementary factor in Johnson's upcoming decision.

"It's not a huge factor, there's going to be someone that's been there and ready to go," he said. "There's no pressure to come in with an open spot, so it's not much of a factor. But then again, you don't want to ride the bench for two or three years of your career, or at least I don't."

With more knowledge of the specifics at FSU, it was also a relevant visit in that the Johnsons were able to get back to their hometown of Tallahassee.

"Me and my dad went this time, it was nice just for him to get back down there," he said. "We haven't been in a while, just to see everything and to see how far FSU has come is really good.

"He (the father) was there his whole life until we moved when I was young. It's pretty crazy with the family and fandom, but at the same time, people who know me just want me to go where I want to and where I'm comfortable - wherever the best place is for me. Of course, FSU is the home-school, but at the same time they know I need to go where's best for me."


Johnson lines up at running back, receiver, safety and returner for Madison Academy.

With each finalists visited once more, perhaps it's fitting that three factors will be heavily considered in isolating one program away from the other two on his list.

"The thing that will separate them will be comfortability level, how much trust I can have with the coaching staff and with the school itself, and of course playing time also plays a factor," Johnson said. " And that will probably be it with visits, Georgia wants me to come over but I'm not sure if I'll have time. Even if I do, it's kind of late in the game.

"I'll probably sit down with my parents and just talk it out with them. I'll see which ones they like and which one I like, and talk about everything. Those top three things, compare each school. Every school has a different feel, different attributes. I need to find which one will suit me for the next four years."

The 6-foot, 185-pounder and two-time Class 3A state champion broke down his general feeling with each school.

Auburn: "The thing I think about most with Auburn is the fit. There's just a different feel about Auburn, they're a really tight community. Small town, college town, it just feels like a homey place, you know?"

Alabama: "At Alabama, it's a small college town, too. There's an excitement in the air, there's a lot of pride at Alabama – really in all sports. They take pride at being at Alabama and being a part of the school."

Florida State: "With Florida State, of course, that being my hometown it's a great memory for me and my family so it has that element to it. It's a unique town, as well."

It may sound like each of Johnson's finalists can be considered a leader, and the Scout 100 prospect admitted that each has in-fact held the top spot at one point or another. Each has led recently in the process.

"Honestly, it changes literally day by day," he said. "One day I like one (school), the next I see something about another and I'm like ‘woah, I like that one.' It changes day by day.

"The decision will be really hard, I feel like I'm at the point right now that I'll make the right choice. But It's going to be extremely hard."

Johnson hopes to lock down the decision in early to mid-May, he says, in what will likely be a small ceremony at Madison Academy. There is no specific date for the commitment or the ceremony just yet. He reiterated that there won't be many more unofficial visits, if any, because weekends have become busy with the end of the school year and his shoulder rehab. Johnson had surgery for a torn labrum after the 2013 season.

"Right now I'm probably at about 90 percent, 85-90," he said. "I'll be way clear by the season. Schools have asked about how the rehab is going, I met two guys from Florida State this weekend that were having the same surgery I did.

"They understand, I think all the schools understand that it happens and it's just a part of the game. You have to do all you can to prevent it."

Johnson, who has more than 50 all-purpose touchdowns over the last two seasons to go along with nearly 4,000 yards of total offense, is currently the No. 2 prospect in the state of Alabama.

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