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There were a multitude of color combinations that Walled Lake Western pro-style quarterback Sam Johnson III could have pulled out of a bin wrapped in ribbon to announce his college commitment, but the three-star recruit decided to dress himself in the ones that made him and his parents, Sam Jr. and Shwanda, feel at home: maroon and gold.

The 6-foot-4 Johnson chose Boston College over finalists Michigan, Syracuse, Iowa and Missouri, saying that when he left his visit to the east coast, he knew his search was over.

“When I went up there, it just felt like family,” Johnson said. “They treated me and my family right. When we got back, as we talked about it in the car, I was like, ‘Man, I really like B.C. This might be the place.’”

Shwanda echoed her son’s love for the school’s family-like feel, saying, “They were genuine and authentic, and it felt natural, and it felt not forced.”

Recruited by offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Scott Loefler, the three-star quarterback, who’s been touring colleges since the eighth grade and had offers from 19 schools, envisions his passing ability meshing well with sophomore running back AJ Dillon.

“They got a pretty good running back up there right now, and me and him and the backfield would look pretty good together,” he said.

Life outside of football didn’t sound too bad, either. High on the list of Johnson’s priorities was “the atmosphere of the school outside of football,” and the quarterback added, “football’s not all-year round, so I just wanted to see how I see myself fitting inside that school outside of football.”

Sam, Jr. agreed the location was a home run, laughing as he noted, “The seafood was excellent, so that was a big plus.”

Hoping to begin pursuit of a business degree after graduating early from Western, Johnson said Boston College’s academic reputation also factored into his decision: “That’s one of the best [educations] you can get.”

Despite requiring more than a 700-mile drive east to see his son play, Sam Jr. said his family won’t miss a game.

“I never wanted that to be an issue in him deciding the school he wanted to go to,” Sam Jr. said. “If he went to Alaska, we were coming to watch him play.”

Even though he enjoyed the four-year courting process, Johnson is “happy it’s over,” as he can now shift his focus to “getting ready to compete,” and was thankful for the freedom granted by his parents.

“They just helped me settle down, make the right [decision], and honestly just leaving it up to me, telling me wherever I felt was right, that was the right thing to do,” he said.

Nolan Bianchi is a freelance writer.

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