By Chris Hays | Orlando Sentinel
2:40 AM EST, February 8, 2013
Winter Garden West Orange wide receiver Garrett Johnson finally received his first college football scholarship offer this week. He’s only a junior, but it seems like he’s waited a long time.
More than anything, he was just relieved to finally hear someone say they wanted him to be a part of a college football program. The first one to do so was Northwestern wide receivers coach Dennis Springer.
“Oh yeah, I’ve been waiting for a long time and now I finally got one,” said Johnson, who has been one of the top receivers in Central Florida over the past two seasons.
“A lot of weight has been lifted off my shoulders and now I definitely know that I have an offer and I will definitely be going to college for free. It just feels good to know that.”
During his sophomore and junior seasons, Johnson racked up almost 2,000 yards receiving. His best year was as a sophomore, when he caught 55 passes for 1,014 yards and 10 touchdowns. His numbers were down this past season, but some of than can be attributed to Johnson having to spend more time on the field as a cornerback when the Warriors didn’t have the ball.
He caught 49 balls as a junior, a slight drop-off there, but the yardage was a far more dramatic change in the 685 yards he posted. He also had seven TDs. West Orange will also use Johnson on running plays off the end, and he has scored two touchdowns and gained almost 200 yards on 21 carries.
During this offseason, Johnson has already put on a few pounds and he has also grown a bit, edging closer to that all-important 6-foot mark for receivers, which is a good sign that perhaps he is not done growing.
He was measured at just over 5-foot-9 and 162 pounds at the National Under Armour All-American Combine in St. Petersburg on Jan. 4, but at another combine two weeks ago, he appeared to have grown a bit more and his weight work is showing obvious signs in his arms and chest.
Johnson said Coach Springer likes him for several different reasons, and a lot of coaches, given his size, will begin to start categorizing Johnson into the slot receiver role. Of course, as long as it’s college football, it doesn’t matter to Johnson.
“When they came down the coach said they really liked me,” Johnson said of Springer. “He said that they have bigger receivers, but they need more faster receivers who can catch bubble screens and turn them into 50-yard gains or more. They need more down-field playmakers.”
Johnson definitely has the speed. He was clocked at the Under Armour event with a 4.7 lazer-timed 40-yard dash, and a hand-held time of 4.6 seconds. He's been in the 4.5s at times, as well.
He could be getting another offer from Boston College this week. He's been in contact with BC assistant Todd Fitch, the former USF assistant who joined the new staff of Steve Addazio after the Bulls fired head coach Skip Holtz and his staff in November.
Johnson, however, won’t be resting on his offers and has set forth a tough offseason schedule to get him where he needs to be next season. It will be the second year working with 2014 classmate and West Orange quarterback Hayden Griffitts. Both will be looking to put together a special senior season under new head coach Bob Head, who comes over from Orlando Olympia.
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.