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June 4, 2007

Johnson's not second guessing

By some standards, the 2008 recruiting class for the Texas Longhorns has been rather uneventful. Mack Brown and staff nearly filled its recruiting class before the month of February had ended, and very few prospects remain on the Texas recruiting radar heading into the summer months.

Perhaps the most exciting story for Longhorn fans through the first four months of recruiting season was the commitment of linebacker Dravannti Johnson, who had initially committed to Texas A&M before switching his pledge to Texas in late April. Getting a blue-chip prospect to switch from one school to another always sparks up some interest, but swiping a commit from a bitter in-state rival made Johnson's story an incredibly hot topic among the Longhorn and Aggie fan bases.

Six weeks later, with his commitment to Texas having officially settled in, Johnson said he still feels good about his decision to join the Longhorn commitment list.

"I basically just didn't feel comfortable with my decision to go to A&M. I wanted to make sure I felt right and I started having second thoughts about my future," Johnson said. "I'm 100 percent happy that I'm a horn now. I feel like this is where I wanted to be for a long time."

As one might imagine, the final choice was one in which Johnson invested a lot of time and it came with some backlash, but Johnson said he simply tried to make the decision that was best for his future.

"I didn't want to let the rivalry get in the way. I looked at it as what's the best place for me and my future," he said. "I couldn't let rivalries put a hold on me and my life."

This weekend, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound standout will be in Austin for a Longhorn mini-camp, where he'll have a chance to work out in front of the Texas coaches and spend some time with most of the other commitments in the 2008 Longhorn class.

"I just want to come out there, talk to the coaches and meet all of the guys," said Johnson. "I just want to compete, have fun and get a chance to be coached by the Texas coaches. I'll be working out at defensive end and linebacker, so I get the best of both worlds."

A player that is athletic enough to line up at outside linebacker yet big and strong enough to play at defensive end, Johnson's versatility is one of his strongest assets. The Texas coaches, including defensive ends coach Oscar Giles, have told him that he'll probably play at outside linebacker and on the defensive line once he officially joins the Longhorn program.

"They told me that's why I was pretty valuable to Texas because I can do so much. Coming in, I'm going to be a linebacker. But I can also stack over the tight end or pass rush as a defensive end," Johnson said. "I guess they'll just find a way to get me on the field. If I can, I'd like to play both positions. But If I can help the team and make plays, I'll do whatever they want."

Things on the recruiting front have been pretty quiet ever since Johnson switched his commitment, and he's enjoying having the pressures of being a high-profile prospect behind him. Johnson will graduate from Nederland in December and instead of dealing with phone calls and text messages from coaches all summer, he'll spend the next few months focusing on fine-tuning his game.

"This summer I'm working on my speed. I'm not too worried about my weight but my speed, quickness and footwork, and strength will be my focus," he said.


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