Go West young lad if you are searching for the nation's top juco quarterback. Go West to California to the town of Reedley, where you will find none other than Reedley College, which is home to the 2002 juco national champions and their offensive leader, the speedy man with a gun for an arm, Robert Johnson.
Johnson, a graduate of Americus High School in Georgia, stands at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, but it's when he's moving that's really impressive. Johnson has been clocked at a sub-4.6 in the 40-yard dash, making him a hot commodity among recruiting coordinators and head coaches alike at Division I schools across this great country.
"That's what I've heard," said Reedley College head coach Michael White. "I've been told he's the number one quarterback to come out of junior college this year."
With offers coming in from all parts of the United States, the pressure is on Johnson to make a decision. But despite the interest, the signal caller has put his choice on hold until after the Juco season wraps up. For those carrying an interest, Reedley's final regular season game comes on November 15, with a run in the playoffs likely to follow.
"He's got too many things to take care of here before he gets to that decision," White said.
Johnson maintains a 2.7 GPA at Reedley and is set to graduate in December. While finishing up his business off the field, the dual-threat quarterback also has some to take care of on the field. Last season Johnson was a big part of Reedley's Juco national championship season, and with 4-1 start to the 2003 campaign, the Tigers are in the hunt once again.
"[Robert]'s been injured with a shoulder bruise, but he's just about back to 100 percent," White said of Johnson. "He's been playing through it."
Johnson continues to put up numbers. In Reedley's October 3 win on the road against Sacramento City College, the quarterback completed 15-of-30 passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns.
With more than 30 offers on the table, Johnson will be a busy man when it comes to decision time. Some of his favorite offers range from USC and Washington in the PAC-10, to Kentucky in the SEC, to Texas Tech set for this weekend and Kansas State in the Big 12, to Central Florida in the MAC.
So far Johnson has only planned visits to Kentucky and Texas Tech, despite listing Kansas State as his favorite as of the last report. He's scheduled to be in Lubbock this upcoming weekend.
At least four other players on the Reedley roster this season have a shot at landing on a Division I roster by next season.
Linebacker Sylvester Brinkley (6-4, 235, 4.6), a graduate of Martin County High School in Florida, plans to visit both Missouri and Texas Tech (this weekend) this fall, and he has also received interest from BYU.
"Whether he's used as a linebacker or a rush end in a 4-3 scheme, we'll see," White said. "But those two spots would be where he'd make a home."
Brinkley will be a December graduate, and he carries with him a 2.6 GPA.
Reedley's other three players with D-I potential, like Brinkley, are all on defense. Defensive end Charles Glover (6-4, 265, 4.9) has received offers from Texas Tech and Missouri and his solid academics will allow him to participate in spring practice wherever he chooses to sign.
Nose tackle Marcus Campbell (6-4, 305, 4.85) has an offer on the table from Texas Tech (visit this weekend) as well, and the big man will be a spring graduate of Reedley. Campbell played his high school ball at Americus High School along with Johnson, while Glover was a high school teammate of Brinkley at Martin County.
Rounding out Reedley's top five prospects is free safety Dwayne Slay (6-4, 210, 4.65), a graduate of Brunswick High School in Georgia.
Along with his teammates, Slay plans to visit Texas Tech. He's on schedule to graduate from Reedley in the spring.
With Johnson leading the offense, and Brinkley, Glover, Campbell and Slay controlling the defense, good things just might be in the not-to-distant future for Reedley.
And, of course, the same could be said for that lucky Division I coach that goes West and captures the signature of Reedley's fleet-footed gunslinger, Robert Johnson.