Today's spotlight shines on Countryside CB Mike Johnson, who comes in at No. 47 in our HomeTeam 100 (see Nos. 41-50 here).
2011 stats: 23 tackles, six passes defended, three INTs
The breakdown: Before the recruiting sites took notice, and before he had any college offers, Mike Johnson was a sophomore playing cornerback for the first time, going up against the best quarterback and wide receiver in Pinellas County in just his second varsity game.
All he did that night was pick off two of Pete DiNovo’s passes, and returned one for a game-sealing touchdown as the Cougars picked up a big win against rival East Lake.
Welcome to big-time high school football, kid.
“I kind of felt after that game, I was going to have a decent year,’’ said Johnson, and he did. “But I thought it could have been better.’’
Johnson, a wide receiver in youth football, spent the offseason honing his new craft and now ranks as one of the most promising defensive backs in Tampa Bay. The junior has already picked up offers from Iowa State and USF, and that is just the beginning for the 5-foot-11, 177-pounder.
“He has put himself in position to have a big year,” said Countryside coach Jared Davis.
Davis says Johnson is a throwback — a guy with great cover skills who also likes to mix it up with bigger receivers. “He’s not afraid of contact.”
Johnson wants to add to his tackle stats in 2012, but even more, wants to be a ball-hawking, big-play guy. When he makes an interception, he wants to bring it all the way back the other way.
He certainly sounds ready to make a big leap in impact, now that’s he more comfortable at cornerback. Johnson says last year, he was six on a scale of one to 10.
“I feel like a nine.”