Mickey Johnson has options. In fact, the 6-foot-1, 310-pound defensive tackle has more options than he needs right now. As the summer begins to wind down and two-a-days draw closer, Johnson has decided to drastically chop his list of over 25 scholarship offers, naming his final five and one leader.
"I'm just doing it so that I have less things to worry about and less pressure on me," Johnson said on Tuesday evening.
The defensive mauler went on to list his top five in order of interest as UCLA, Nebraska, Michigan, Tennessee and LSU.
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"With UCLA, it's a beautiful place and I'm actually from California so it'd be like going home," he said. "Also the academic program they have and the support they have for it is really good. A lot of big name people came out of that school I didn't know like Jackie Robinson and FloJo. I could see myself going there."
UCLA is also one of only two schools among Johnson's five finalists that he has visited in person along with LSU. That familiarity has given the powerful athlete plenty of reasons to put the Bruins in the driver's seat. Johnson went on to list the factors that kept the other four schools in play.
"Nebraska has a great coach," he said. "Coach Pelini is there and he was down there at LSU when they won a national championship. I don't know too much about them but I'm going up there for an official visit, hopefully to catch the Missouri game.
"With Michigan, Coach (Greg) Frey and I have been talking about Michigan a lot and he's been sending me emails about the academic program they have. Everything up there, the program they're building, they play in the big house which I like, and I'm looking forward to getting up there on an official visit.
"Tennessee, I haven't been up there but Coach Terry Joseph has informed me a lot of stuff that goes on there like they're building a new facility that'll be opening up next December, new practice fields and everything. The academics are good also. I'm not sure what game I'll see on my official visit but I will go there."
Johnson also commented on the home-state Tigers.
"LSU is like a family," he said. "I know a lot of the guys that have committed. They're going to be high contenders a national championship in the future. I know a lot about LSU. There's no reason why they're last on the list. I'm more of a show me guy. It's nothing against LSU that they're number five."
With a top five set, Johnson hopes to take all of his official visits this fall and then make a decision following his senior season, but he isn't planning any theatrics.
"I'm going to wait till I take my officials to evaluate all the different schools and hopefully after the season, I'll make my decision. I'm not going to pick from a hat or anything. I'm just going to make a decision."
Because LSU is so convenient, that is one school that he likely won't visit officially in the fall. He does plan on visiting unofficially next week though for LSU's prospect camp.
Johnson is rated by Rivals.com as a four-star prospect in the Rivals250 and the No. 14 defensive tackle in the country.