Quarterback recruiting for the 2019 recruiting class has already seen some twists and turns from what many expected it to be when the staff took over in December. The quarterback board for 2019 seems to be expanding in recent weeks but there is a top group emerging to be Nebraska’s preferred signal-caller in this recruiting cycle.
One of the prospects near or at the top of that select group is 4-star QB Michael Johnson Jr. from Sheldon High School in Eugene, Oregon. The dual-threat prospect (6-2, 175) had been thought by some to be an Oregon lock since his dad is an assistant on that staff, but things took a turn when the Ducks accepted a commitment from Cale Millen. The Huskers are very high on Johnson Jr and the feeling seems to be mutual. I reached out to Johnson Jr’s high school coach Josh Line to get his thoughts on what makes Michael such a special prospect.
“What sets him apart besides the obvious of his arm strength and size is his understanding of the game," Line said. “Being a coach’s son and having a strong grasp of the game of football helps him. His football IQ is far beyond what most kids have. His attitude about being a leader and having high expectations of himself. He’s a positive and upbeat kid. He’s not arrogant at all, he doesn’t carry himself in an arrogant way whatsoever. The last thing is he’s got a great work ethic. He’s always on time for all of our workouts and does exactly what you want him to do and then some. He sets the example of what you want and that’s why he’s getting a lot of attention."
As a junior the quarterback threw for 1,218 yards with 21 touchdowns to five interceptions. He also added 745 rushing yards and 12 scores on the ground. Line believes that Johnson Jr. clearly has the physical tools that can make him a successful college quarterback but there is just that extra “it factor” that truly sets him apart.
“When coaches spend time with him, he sets himself apart with intangibles," Line said. "The thing about him is that he has all the tools. Once he starts to realize all the potential he has it will be fun. He’s always wanting to get better. He doesn’t know what cruise control is, he doesn’t coast. He asks really good questions. I don’t know what his full potential is. I think the sky is the limit for this kid, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him in the NFL.”
Line tells me that Johnson Jr. is seriously looking at the Huskers and they both watched the spring game and liked what they saw. One of the reasons that both the coach and recruit are comfortable with Nebraska is the relationship with Scott Frost. Line is familiar with Frost dating back to his time at Oregon.
“I know Scott Frost a little bit because he was at Oregon and I played at Oregon. I’ve been around the [Oregon] program some and been around him," Line said. "Coach [Mario Verduzco] has been by here once and I really liked him. He has a great energy about him. I just like Scott Frost. I like everything about him. He approaches things the right way. He’s a coach that kids want to play for and what they did was really impressive at UCF. “
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.