Sam Johnson plans to showcase the talent that has landed him with more than a dozen Division 1 football offers as a three-star dual-threat quarterback.
Johnson has transferred to Division 2 state runner-up Walled Lake Western and looked sharp during Saturday’s 7-on-7 competition at South Lyon. That event included such teams as Division 1 state champion Detroit Cass Tech, Division 2 state champ Detroit King and Dearborn Fordson.
Johnson received multiple offers before he played his first game as a freshman at Southfield, when he threw for 1,700 yards and 20 TDs.
Johnson had a sub-par sophomore year last season at Southfield A&T when he played through injuries, then was forced to the sidelines while John Darby led the team to a share of the OAA Red title and a Division 1 regional final appearance.
“I love it here, great team, great coaches and I feel we should do well this year,” said the 6-foot-4, 192-pound Johnson. “I feel my mechanics have changed a lot. I’m more over-the-top and I’m more fluid. My decision-making is also better. I’ve gotten, bigger, faster and stronger.”
Johnson said he has put on nearly 20 pounds since last year. He plans to run the ball more this year, saying: “Running track actually helped a lot so I feel I’ll be able to run the ball a bit this year and show some athleticism.”
Johnson’s offer list includes Indiana, Illinois, Cincinnati and Syracuse. He has competed at several camps this summer, including North Carolina, Wisconsin and Indiana.
Johnson says he doesn’t feel any added pressure to perform, despite being a highly-recruited athlete.
“It’s doing something you love,” he said. “It’s fun for me when I’m on the football field.”
Walled Lake Western lost a pair of star receivers in Cody White (Michigan State) and Kam Ford from last year’s team, but Johnson still has quality receivers to work with in senior Justin Thomas and sophomore Abdur Rahmaan-Yaseen.
Thomas had two TD receptions in the second half of a 33-30 comeback win over Canton last year. Rahmaan-Yaseen looked like a star in Saturday’s competition.
“Sam’s got a big arm,” Thomas said. “Sam actually helps me on reading defenses, and that’s the area where I’m trying to improve the most.”
Said Walled Lake Western coach Mike Zdebski: “Sam’s throwing mechanics look good. His intermediate and short routes are all good and the deep ball is coming with him. He’s in good shape, ran track for us this past spring.”
Johnson is sure to be tested right away when Walled Lake Western kicks off the season against West Bloomfield in a battle of top 10 teams Thursday, Aug. 24 at 4 p.m. at Wayne State University.