Class of 2011 linebacker Percy Johnson was a key component of Madison Heights (Mich.) Madison's 2009 season success, but the 6-1, 220-pound Johnson will not be returning to lead Madison next fall. In January, he moved in with his uncle in Chagrin Falls, Ohio and is now attending Kenston High School.
The reason for Johnson's move was so he could get into a situation where he would be better suited to grow academically, but it also has meant an entirely new environment and getting to know an entirely new group of teachers and classmates.
"My biggest challenges were getting used to the teachers, getting used to the different personalities in the school and the different school environment and culture," Johnson said. "My biggest benefits have been the teachers… they are better, and my grades are improving. A lot of kids new about me before I got there, and that did help. I've been blending in pretty well and it's been alright."
Johnson has the talent to be a double-digit offer candidate, but most schools interested in him are waiting until his second semester grades come through to see where he stands academically. No schools appear to have lost Johnson in his move from Michigan to Ohio, because he is still receiving plenty of college attention.
"The second week I was at Kenston I talked to the Michigan State coaches. Coach [Pat] Narduzzi has been sending letters and sending messages through my coaches," Johnson said. "The UCLA coaches have been sending me letters and emailing me. A bunch of other colleges have been sending letters like Michigan, Wisconsin and other Big Ten colleges."
Johnson's focus over the last two months has been on his academics and also his off-season conditioning. With the beginning of spring, however, he expects to start taking more recruiting visits and also plans to partake in several camps and combines.
"I will be attending the NIKE Camp in the summer time and I'll probably go to the Underclassmen Combine and Sound Mind, Sound Body Camp [in Detroit]," Johnson said. "I'm going to Michigan and Michigan State's spring stuff, and I'll probably go to Ohio State's spring game."
As a junior, Johnson tallied 107 tackles including 15 tackles for loss and four sacks from his linebacker position. He also doubled as a fullback on offense, and rushed for 635 yards and ten touchdowns from that position. He now brings that production to Kenston High, where he has already talked with his new head coach about becoming a leader both on the field and off.
"When I came into the school he met me in the office when I was talking with the principal and getting my schedule," Johnson said. "The main thing I talked to the football coach about is me becoming a more vocal leader on the field and the weight room. He wants me to be in the best shape I can be so I can go both ways and be as effective as possible."