Just take a glimpse of Walled Lake Western senior quarterback Sam Johnson, and you can tell he’s all grown up.
Johnson looked sharp and in great physical shape in last week’s 7-on-7 competition, displaying great mechanics — over-the-top delivery — and a strong arm.
Johnson, a three-star pro-style quarterback and Boston College commit, is now 6-foot-4 and 194 pounds and will be much more durable than in past seasons at Southfield and last year at Western.
Farmington Hills Harrison coach John Herrington, the state’s all-time winningest coach, took a good look at Johnson who was showing off his arsenal of throws against Herrington’s team.
“He’s throwing the ball really well,” Herrington said. “He reminds me of back in the day with Shane Morris (Warren De La Salle) and Drew Henson (Brighton). They threw the ball really hard and sometimes you can’t catch it, but he’s pretty accurate.”
Johnson completed 60 percent of his passes last season, throwing for 2,115 yards and 23 touchdowns with five interceptions to help Western to an 8-2 record.
Now, Johnson will try to help Western make a deeper run in the postseason after getting upset last season by Livonia Franklin in the district opener.
Johnson feels more confident after putting on nearly 15 pounds.
“I’m 6-4, 194, played around 180 last year,” Johnson said. “I can tell the difference. I got much faster and much stronger. Every time I throw the ball you can just tell the difference."
Johnson says his "speed and my decision-making with the football has gotten much better,” while he's also improved in terms of preparation.
Johnson says he still must "take care of the ball more and make even better decisions than last year. I just look back at film from last year and noticed some things I could have done different so I just want to clear those up.”
Johnson has been working with his receivers a couple of times a week, including three-star junior Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen, who has multiple Big Ten offers, including Iowa and Minnesota.
“We’ve been working about twice a week, just getting some routes in, getting the timing down,” Johnson said. “Abdur will be a tough matchup. He has great character and great hands. He’s a really good athlete.”
Johnson picked Boston College over more than a dozen other colleges, including Michigan and Iowa.
“I’m pretty excited about it,” said Johnson of heading to Boston College. “The education there is good. I love the coaching staff up there and the atmosphere is nice too.”
Scot Loeffler, who played quarterback at Michigan, then joined Lloyd Carr’s staff as a grad assistant 20 years ago, is Boston College’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He worked with Tim Tebow as Florida’s quarterbacks coach in 2009.