Tuesday, May 13, 2014 11:22 PM
Clemson adds 4-star DT to 2015 recruiting class
by Nikki Hood
Staff Writer

Sterling Johnson's commitment didn't exactly go according to plan.

The four-star Clayton (NC) Cleveland defensive tackle originally planned to commit to an SEC school, but after some thought he decided Clemson was where he should be becoming the Tigers' 12th commitment and second defensive lineman for the 2015 cycle.

"Honestly, it was originally supposed to be Tennessee, but they wanted me to come to camp and they told me they were only going to take one defensive tackle, Johnson told TigerNet shortly after committing Tuesday night. "It wasn't that that turned me away. It was that they sprung it on me at the last minute. With that being said, the only thing they really had on Clemson was the SEC Network. After all that came through and I sat and thought about it. I knew that it was God's plan for me to be a Clemson Tiger. My mom and dad really liked it down there. They have a good team and defensive scheme. It was just the total package."

Johnson chose Clemson, who offered first, over Tennessee, Alabama, Florida and Forida St., stating that the opportunity to make an early impact was too much for the to pass up.

"With a lot of guys leaving early, I will have the opportunity to come in and show that I can compete and play early," Johnson said. "I understand that it's not going to be easy for me at all and I'm perfectly okay with that because I know that with the coaching staff that they have and the support that I have around me that I will be very successful and be a great college and NFL player."

Johnson caught defensive backs coach Mike Reed a little off guard when he called to make his commitment official.

"I called Coach Reed and I'm about to call Coach Swinney as soon as I get off the phone," Johnson said. "He (Reed) asked me what's up and I said, 'Well, coach I want to be a Tiger. He said, 'A Tiger?' I said, 'Well, yeah. That's what Clemson is called, right?' I'm just excited to get down to Death Valley and get to work."

However, it wasn't until a late night call with head coach Dabo Swinney - who has to accept the commitment - that it was official, with Swinney telling Johnson, "It's in the books."

The 6-5, 288-pound prospect who plans to enroll early was named Cleveland's defensive MVP after racking up 80 tackles and seven sacks in 2013.

I would to thank all the schools who have offered but, It's official, I am verbally committed to Clemson university ! #Tigers????

— Sterling Johnson (@HighlightReal90) May 13, 2014

NamePOSHt/WtHometownESPN Rank
Mitch Hyatt PhotoMitch HyattOT6-6/270Suwannee, GA
Kelly Bryant PhotoKelly BryantQB6-4/205Piedmont, SC
Noah Green PhotoNoah GreenOT6-5/275Boiling Springs, SC
Van Smith PhotoVan SmithATH/RB6-0/170Charlotte, NC
Shadell Bell PhotoShadell BellWR6-3/190Decatur, GA
Tucker Israel PhotoTucker IsraelQB6-0/195Orlando, FL
Sterling Johnson PhotoSterling JohnsonDT6-4/265Clayton, NC
Jake Fruhmorgen PhotoJake FruhmorgenOT6-5/280Tampa, FL
Tanner Muse PhotoTanner MuseLB/S6-4/205Belmont, NC
Kaleb Chalmers PhotoKaleb ChalmersCB5-11/170Greenwood, SC
Chad Smith PhotoChad SmithLB6-4/215Sterling, VA
Gage Cervenka PhotoGage CervenkaDT6-3/280Greenwood, SC--

Nikki Hood can be reached at nikki@tigernet.com