Our early choice as the top defensive tackle prospect in the West region next year is Portland (Ore.) Lincoln standout Ethan Johnson. Johnson recently picked up his 6th scholarship offer and it's one he's pretty excited about.
Johnson, 6-5, 260 pounds plays all over the defensive line at the high school level but we think he projects best as a tackle in college.
"Most of the schools like me as a defensive lineman who could play anywhere on the line," Johnson said. "I think in a couple of years, I'll probably be about 6-5, 290 pounds so I think tackle might be where I end up but I'll play anywhere."
Johnson wowed us at the NIKE Camp in Oregon a year ago dominating the position drills and also tested well running a 5.16-40, a 4.44 in the shuttle and jumped 28 inches in the vertical. He was a 1st team NIKE Camp Underclass All-American for his efforts.
On the field, Johnson had a very good year as well totaling 83 tackles and 10 sacks. He's a physically dominating player with the athleticism to cause fits for opposing lineman.
On the recruiting front, Johnson landed his first two offers while he was just a sophomore.
"Oregon State was the first school to offer me," Johnson said. "That was in the Spring of my sophomore year and Oregon offered shortly after. I've also been offered by Auburn, Colorado, Notre Dame and now USC.
"The USC offer is the most recent. I talked to Pete Carroll about two weeks ago and he said they were offering and to look for something in the mail. I haven't gotten the written offer yet so I talked to them again and they said they're going to resend it.
"I'm excited about all of those schools and I really don't have a leader right now. I plan to take all five of my trips and have no plans to make an early decision. Each week, it seems like there is a new school that I'm excited about so I'm just going to play this thing out and stay as open as I can.
"Growing up, I was actually a Miami fan. They were so good and always had a lot of talented defensive linemen. I'm hearing from them a little but the schools that have offered are the ones I'm most interested in.
"Notre Dame and USC both have great tradition and are big time football schools. Colorado has a great tradition as well and when I was growing up, I actually liked them a lot too. Auburn has one of the best winning percentages of any school and then the two in-state schools are close to home and I have great relationship with the coaches there.
"I'm not going to take official visits to either in-state school because I've seen both so many times already but I'm definitely interested. At the same time, I'm a very independent person and have no problem leaving home for college. Staying close to home won't be a factor at all.
"Right now, I'm training hard for the NIKE Camp at USC on April 15 and plan to go up there a few days early to do an unofficial tour of the campus and meet the coaches. I'm also going to camp with Notre Dame although I don't know the exact date of the camp right now.
"The main things I'm looking for in a school are where I'll feel most comfortable, where I have the best relationship with the coaches and what football team is the strongest and has the best chance to win.
"Early playing time or depth charts don't mean much to me. I think anywhere I'll go, there will be great players and I'm fine with competing with whoever is already on the roster."