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April 27, 2011
Carver (Ala.) Montgomery sophomore quarterback Jeremy Johnson led his under-the-radar team into the National Select 7-on-7 Tournament in Hoover, Alabama last summer with high hopes.
Despite competing against regional and national powerhouses, Carver managed to shock everyone by not only making their way to the championship after a few early losses, but winning the prestigious title over fellow in-state school McGill-Toolen.
Johnson was a huge reason why.
"It started my eight grade year. My brother played with Carver, when coach (Al) Pogue first got over there," Johnson told AuburnSports.com. "We've been going to 7-on-7 camps for awhile, and we were 22-0 heading into that tournament, then lost a few games.
"For me, playing 7-on-7 before I got there, I learned from the camps in breaking down coverages, so when we got there, it was nothing new I had seen, so we were successful."
Carver and Johnson had to win three games in the rain on the final day to claim the title. That's exactly what they did.
"We all bought in and I just went out and did what I had to do to lead the team to a win," Johnson said.
Johnson played wide receiver his freshman year, but the move to quarterback has been a good one. Last season, as a sophomore, Johnson threw for around 2,800 yards and 27 touchdowns, leading Carver to a 8-4 record and a second round loss in the state playoffs.
With a big sophomore season and his performance last summer, it is no surprise that Johnson has caught the attention of top programs throughout the southeast early in his recruiting process.
Johnson claims he has already received letters from Auburn, Alabama, Clemson, Tennessee, Florida State, Arkansas, and more. With all the early interest, one school appears to be standing out to Johnson at the moment.
"I'm into Auburn right now," Johnson said.
The talented upcoming junior was in Auburn earlier this spring for the Tigers' Junior Day. He left impressed.
"It was great," said Johnson. "The tradition is great, and it's all about family down there. Everybody buys into each other, the fans, the players, the school, the academics, it's great. I fit into that kind of stuff, it was great for me talking to the coaches.
"Coach (Gus) Malzahn had five straight quarterbacks that broke records, that's what I do. I enjoy throwing. We were all just sitting around talking, it was fun."
The 6-foot-5, 195-pound prospect has dual-threat abilities, but Johnson would rather be known as a quarterback willing to stand in the pocket and deliver the football.
"I'm just straight pocket quarterback," Johnson said. "I can throw, that's what I do, I'm just not Cam Newton when it comes to running."
In addition to being just down the road from Auburn, Johnson has another tie to the Tigers' program now.
Former Carver High School head coach Al Pogue has since moved on from that job, now becoming a graduate assistant on the offensive side of the ball for Auburn under offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn.
The opportunity to play with his former coach is certainly appealing.
"It would be real nice to play with him," said Johnson. "But I've got two years to think about that."
On Tuesday, Auburn tight ends coach Jay Boulware visited Carver to check in on Johnson. The talented signal caller feels like Auburn may be close to offering after the summer heading into his junior season.
It would be a welcomed offer according to Johnson.
"They said they are pretty sure they will offer me soon," Johnson said. "If Auburn offered, they may be the team to beat."
Despite Johnson's proximity to Auburn, he admits he grew up an Alabama fan. But Johnson said that will likely not play a part in his decision either way. Auburn and Malzahn have Johnson's attention.
"Coach Malzahn's system is what I run in high school, so I feel comfortable," Johnson said. "He said he's looking forward to me coming down for a camp."