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Jesuit: Receiver Johnson has big-play potential

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 08:27 PM
TAMPA -

Jesuit coach James Harrell has coached and coached against some of the top receivers to emerge from Hillsborough County.

Those receivers include former Leto star Mike Jenkins, former Tampa Catholic star Darrell Jackson and former Plant receiver Derek Winter. Jenkins and Jackson went on to play in the NFL.

Harrell thinks Jesuit junior receiver Travis Johnson can join that list of elite receivers.

"He has big-play potential," Harrell said. "He has the ability to take over a game."

"I think I possess size," Johnson said. "Most teams in the area don't have a 6-foot-4 receiver that's 210 (pounds) and can get out off the line."

Johnson finished the 2010 season with 612 receiving yards and eight touchdowns and was named to the MaxPreps/U.S. Air Force All-American Sophomore Team. Entering his junior year, Johnson has more than 30 scholarship offers from Division I schools. Some schools that have offered include Louisiana State, Ohio State, Florida, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Southern California, Purdue, Oklahoma State, Michigan State, and Georgia Tech.

"I know I'm capable of catching it deep and catching it short and breaking tackles," Johnson said. "This year I'm working more on blocking when we run. I want to show coaches I can block as well, to get down and put hands on somebody and move them."

But Johnson isn't concerned with his status as one of the county's greats. He just wants to help his team win games.

"I'm just trying to be the best player I can and best teammate I can and be more of a leader this year," he said. "Though I'm a junior, it's my third year on varsity."

Last year, Jesuit finished 11-1 and came within one win of reaching the Class 2A state semifinals. Coming off a breakout season, Johnson is preparing himself for the extra attention coming his way.

"I faced (double teams) in 7-on-7," Johnson said. "We just have to find a way. It's a learning experience for me. I have to work with my coaches to find a way to get around that."

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