Future Penn State quarterback Michael Johnson Jr. is one of five Penn State commitments that will play in the Under Armour All-American Game on Thursday. Johnson will represent Team Ballaholics and share a backfield with future teammate Devyn Ford.
“I just want to be able to compete against the best in the country, there’s nothing better than that,” he said earlier this week. “I just want to have fun, interact with some of these top guys, guys that are coming to Penn State, the ones who I’m going to be interacting with over the next four years. That’s what I’m most excited about. You want to compete against the best, that’s why I’m here.”
The four-star prospect will go straight from Florida to Happy Valley, where he will enroll for the spring semester at University Park.
“I’m heading there right after this, my next stop is Penn State right after this,” he said. “I have this big bag that I have to carry everywhere. I’m just excited to get going, excited to be there. I think getting there sooner will help me. I’ll be a little ahead, obviously, of those guys coming in the summer. I’ll have a couple things under my belt. That’s going to be exciting.”
Johnson committed to Penn State on Aug. 1 and signed with the Nittany Lions last month, but Florida State quietly made a run late in the game. The Seminoles lost four-star quarterback Sam Howell to North Carolina just before National Signing Day and Willie Taggart’s staff was left scrambling for options.
“Florida State had a really unique situation that I looked into,” he said. “But I was raised on loyalty and I was committed to Penn State for a long time so I couldn’t do that. I have no idea what they’re situation was when [Howell] was flipping, because they were recruiting me when he was committed. They said they were taking two quarterbacks.”
Johnson’s father coached under Taggart at Oregon and remained on staff with the Ducks this season. The younger Johnson visited Tallahassee officially back in June and was at least listening to what they had to say late in the cycle.
“They didn’t get in home. I wouldn’t say I shut it down completely, I would say they made a good push,” he said. “I respect those guys from being at Oregon coaching with my dad. I respect them tremendously, they’re like family to me and they understood and respected me when I said I was going to stick with Penn State.”