Hunter Johnson proves he's among the nation's elite quarterbacks


by - Staff Writer -
Johnson throws during last week's competition
Johnson throws during last week's competition

Hunter Johnson took a break from Elite 11 workouts last week to fly home to Indiana to participate in a track meet as part of Brownsburg’s 1,600-meter relay squad, then flew back to California and earned an invite to Nike’s The Opening.

Johnson’s week proves he’s on the fast track on and off the football field.

Johnson, the 2017 Clemson quarterback commit, impressed in California. Already rated as the nation’s No. 1 pro-style quarterback, Johnson ascended to number four nationally (regardless of position) in the Rivals recruiting rankings.

Johnson arrived back home late Sunday and told TigerNet he enjoyed the entire experience, especially getting to spend time with current Clemson signal caller Deshaun Watson.

“I had a great time learning from all of the coaches and competing with all the guys,” Johnson said. “Seeing Deshaun out there again was really cool too. He was one of my main coaches on Friday so it was really Awesome being around him and throwing with him. This year especially, all of the coaches said the exact same thing. It was just a really good group of guys. We all bonded and got along really well which just made the camp that much more fun.”

Earning an invite to the prestigious Opening – held each July in Beaverton, Oregon – topped the list.

“It feels great knowing that I was able to accomplish what I set out to do at camp,” Johnson said. “It has always been a dream of mine to make it to The Opening and now that I know I made it I can't wait.”

Johnson will rest a week and then travel to head coach Dabo Swinney’s high school camp next week, where he will reunite with Watson.

“It sounds like he will be around for the June 14-16 camp at Clemson so I'm sure I'll probably get to catch up with him again there,” Johnsons said. “It's definitely a cool experience to be able to learn from a guy like him that has had so much success. We really didn't talk a whole lot about Clemson.”

Johnson was also able to spend time with fellow 2017 quarterback commit Chase Brice of Loganville (GA) Grayson. Brice, Johnson and wide receiver commit Amari Rodgers out of Knoxville (TN) Catholic are recruiting heavily for the Tigers. Why? Because want to keep the positive momentum the Tigers have established.

“Chase and I talk about every day in our commit message group, so we have become really good friends. This class as a whole is a very close group,” he said. “We were actually roommates for the Elite 11 camp so that was fun for both of us. We want to win. And to win you have to have good players but also good young men that you want as your teammates. So we try to go after the guys that we and the coaches think fit Clemson and go after them.”

Johnson said competing in two different sports the same week was worth the effort, but he’s already looking forward to being back on Clemson’s campus next week and helping recruit more great players into the fold.

“It definitely has been tiring,” he said. “But, it was absolutely one hundred percent worth it. Definitely, a weekend I will remember for the rest of my life. Next week is going to be big for recruiting but we also want to have some fun too. Pretty much all of the commits I think will be there and we are all rooming together. I can't wait.”

As a junior, Johnson passed for 2,545 yards with 31 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

In 2014, he completed 54% of his passes for 1,434 passing yards with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

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