5-star parade: Nation's No. 1 QB says "Clemson just felt right"

by - Staff Writer -
As a junior, Johnson threw for 2,545 yards and 31 touchdowns.  <span style=Photo by Student Sports">
As a junior, Johnson threw for 2,545 yards and 31 touchdowns. Photo by Student Sports

It was a 5-star kind of day in Clemson.

The Clemson coaching staff picked up its second commitment of the day Monday evening when 2017 5-star quarterback Hunter Johnson of Brownsburg (IN) flipped from Tennessee and gave a verbal commitment to Clemson’s staff. Johnson is rated as the No. 1 quarterback in the country for the 2017 recruiting cycle by 247.

Earlier in the day, 2016 5-star defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence committed to Clemson over Alabama, UNC, Ohio St. and N.C. State. He has 23 offers, including Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame and Oklahoma among others.

Johnson originally committed to the Volunteers back in August, but quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter invited Johnson and his family down for a visit to Clemson last weekend. Johnson said he fell in love with the environment that surrounds the Clemson program.

“My family and I, we were there this past weekend and it really just felt like the place for me,” Johnson told TigerNet shortly after he informed Clemson’s coaches. “Sometimes you just kind of get that gut feeling and I just felt it. My parents did, too. They just kind of knew right away. It just felt right to me. I just felt more comfort at Clemson than I ever have, and I was just able to make the decision.”

Clemson’s family atmosphere helped push Clemson over the top.

“We were there for just a day. We checked in the next morning before we left,” he said. “I think just being around the staff and getting to know the staff really stood out. One of the things they preach a lot is the family atmosphere there. I could feel it. I got a sense of it. I felt like it fit. It felt right. I couldn't be happier.”

Streeter’s success with Heisman Trophy finalist Deshaun Watson and the relationship Johnson was able to build with Streeter were also factors.

“I think you can definitely see what he's been able to do this year,” Johnson said. “The offense there is great. Deshaun is a great guy and a great quarterback. I think they're able to complement each other and work well together. I believe 100 percent in Coach Streeter.”

As a junior, Johnson threw for 2,545 yards and 31 touchdowns and is known more as a pro-style passer. How does he feel like he will fit into Clemson’s read-option style offense where the quarterback is expected to run the football?

“I think I'll fit in great. Me and Coach Streeter were able to sit down and talk some football,” Johnson said. “I was able to relate with a lot of the plays that they run. A lot of the schemes they run are very similar to the schemes that we run at my high school. I'll be able to understand. I can run when I need to. As a quarterback, I feel like I'm a pass-first guy, but I will definitely run when I have to. You see guys like Andrew Luck. Obviously, I'm an Indianapolis Colts guy. He's a pro-style quarterback, but he runs when he has to and he's able to make plays with his feet. That's one of the things people don't give him enough credit for is that he's so athletic.”

Johnson called Streeter with the news while the coaches were in a staff meeting.

“Really, we made it official today. They're very, very excited,” Johnson said. “I was able to call Coach Streeter, and he put me on speaker within the offensive staff meeting and they were excited. It was pretty neat and pretty cool.”

Johnson is good friends with 4-star wide receiver and Tennessee commit Tee Higgins of Oak Ridge (TN) and has already talked to Higgins about pairing up at Clemson.

“He was one of the first guys to reach out to me. We've been tweeting back and forth,” Johnson said. “Absolutely, I'm going to recruit him.”

Clemson has a rule about commits taking visits elsewhere, but Johnson said the coaches don’t have to worry about their newest commit.

“Honestly, I feel great. I've never been so confident,” he said. “I feel like this is the place for me.”


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