November 24, 2009

Johnson surprises Rebs with Magnolia Bowl appearance

When Robert Johnson hung up the phone with Ole Miss wide receivers coach Ron Dickerson Jr., last Wednesday, he was still unsure regarding his weekend plans.

So when Johnson showed up in Oxford on Saturday, hours before Ole Miss' 25-23 win over LSU, the Rebels' coaches were both surprised and pleased.

"They said it was good seeing me," said Johnson, a four-star wide receiver prospect from Hattiesburg (Oak Grove), Miss. "They were all smiling. I got a tour around the locker room, met with all the receivers. It was good seeing old friends again.

"The atmosphere was great. It couldn't get any better -- packed house, senior night, conference game, the Magnolia Bowl. It was a great game. It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole night."

Johnson, a member of the Rivals250, talked to several players and coaches after the Rebels' jubilant win. He even had a few moments to talk to Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt.

"We hugged," Johnson said. "He was telling me Dexter (McCluster) and Shay Hodge were leaving next year and there were going to be spots open."

Johnson, a 6-foot, 196-pounder with 4.46-second speed in the 40-yard dash, will lead his Oak Grove team against Travis Dickson, [sb]Sam Noblin[/db] and Ocean Springs in a state semifinal playoff game Friday night. On Saturday morning, he'll be off to see the annual Egg Bowl game between Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Both the Rebels and the Bulldogs, Johnson said Monday, are major players for his signature.

"The outcome won't matter," Johnson said. "It'll be who shows up on offense the most, who rotates the most players, especially at the receiver position. It'll be who likes to take gambles and all that. …The school that is really recruiting me the most and the hardest out of anybody is Mississippi State. West Virginia is right behind them. They're recruiting me hard, too. And Ole Miss is definitely up there."

Johnson, who has already visited West Virginia officially, said he and teammate Jay Hughes plan to take an official visit to Auburn together sometime in January. He said he has also talked to Dickerson about an official visit to Ole Miss, likely sometime in January as well. Florida State will also probably get an official visit before Johnson makes a final decision.

"(Florida State assistant) Coach (Rick) Trickett called Wednesday," Johnson said. "He said they're trying to see what's going to happen with the Bobby Bowden situation. What he was basically saying, in translation, is they'll probably offer me after the Florida game."

Johnson is rated by Rivals.com as the No. 6 prospect in Mississippi and as the No. 36 wide receiver prospect in the country.

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