Over the past few weeks, we started to hear some rumors that Portland (Ore.) Lincoln defensive lineman and Notre Dame commit Ethan Johnson was looking at taking an official visit or two. We checked in with the talented athlete to hear what the latest and greatest was.
The more film of Johnson we watch, the more convinced we are that he very well could be among the top five overall prospects in the West region. We love his versatility and feel he's both the top defensive end and defensive tackle prospect in the region.
Johnson is headed to Notre Dame where he'll play on the edge in the Irish's 3-4 scheme. It's a position that suits him very well but we also feel he has All-American potential as a three technique lineman in a traditional 4-3.
On the recruiting front, Johnson committed to Notre Dame back in the summer in a move that shocked many in the recruiting world. Most felt USC was the team to beat for Johnson and Michigan made a strong run as well.
"For me, it was honestly a no brainer to commit to Notre Dame," Johnson said. "When I was at USC, I asked the coaches what their graduation rate for football players was and they said it was something like 60%. That was just for the players that finished, not including the guys who left early for the NFL.
"I then asked them how many players on the team were in the schools Business program and they really couldn't think of anyone. They tried to say there was one or two but didn't seem so sure about it.
"Then I visited Michigan and asked about their graduation rate and they said it was about 78%. I asked the same Business question and they said their punter was the only guy in the program. I appreciated their honesty, I really did.
"Then I headed over to Notre Dame and asked their grad rate among football players and it was like 99.9%. I asked how many players are in the Business program and they said about half of the team is and the other half are in some serious programs as well. I was blown away by that.
"I love football and I would love to play it in the NFL but education is huge for me as well. I'm one knee injury away from never playing again so I wanted to find a school that was not just a great fit for me from a football standpoint, but a place that would best prepare me for life as a person.
"For me, that was Notre Dame and it really wasn't even close. I loved Los Angeles and Ann Arbor, they're both cool cities but I love Notre Dame and I'm not even looking at visiting any other schools.
"To be honest, when I committed, I called all the other coaches to tell them of my decision and let them know that I didn't want to be recruited any more. So I haven't even gotten calls from any other schools other than Notre Dame since September started.
"I have no plans to take any other trips. For me, that would be disrespectful to all the other schools because if I visited, I would have no interest in going to that school. It would be like going out on a date with a girl and making her pay for everything when I had no interest in her, that would be wrong.
"Everyone talks about how much fun the visits are and I'm sure I would have a great time, but I'm only visiting Notre Dame. I don't even know where that rumor came from because like I said, I haven't even got a phone call from any other schools and I'm very happy about that."
As for how the Irish have looked this season, Johnson said he is actually excited about the future.
"I didn't see the first game with Georgia Tech," Johnson said. "I watched the Penn State game though and thought the defense played really well. They were on the field for 75% of the game and that's a lot to ask of a defense. I also thought Jimmy Clausen looked pretty good and is only going to get better.
"I like our future at Notre Dame, I really do. We have a young team and a good class coming in this year. I'm still as excited right now to be going to Notre Dame as I was the day I committed."