As WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen starts to look within the state for talent there stands a young man in Jefferson County, West Virginia just waiting to hear from the Mountaineers. Christian Johnson, a 6’2 190 lb wide receiver playing for Jefferson High School is coming off of one of the best seasons in state history.
Johnson finished his junior season for the Cougars with 65 receptions for 1418 yards and 24 touchdowns. The touchdown receptions are a new state record in a 10 game season previously held by Randy Moss. Johnson hauled in 7 TD’s in one game against Hampshire last season, also a state record previously held by Brandon Barrett (a former Mountaineer).
Despite his staggering stats and size Jefferson High School head coach Craig Hunter still believes Johnson will improve. “He just started lifting weights, up to this point he has done all of this off natural ability and raw talent”. Hunter also believes that his speed will improve. Johnson is currently clocked at 4.53 in the 40. “He runs track for me as well and will get faster” Hunter said when asked about whether he felt his speed needed to improve. Hunter went on to say that Christian already possessed some intangibles that would help him at the next level, “He is a good route runner with good hands, he has a good football IQ and is still learning”.
“He is by far the most athletic receiver I’ve seen in this area in a long time” said Bear Henson, defensive coordinator at Spring Mills High School in the eastern panhandle of WV. He recalled one play Johnson made against the Cardinals, “the ball was thrown probably 12 yards off target, (Johnson) changed his route, dove from about 5 yards away from the ball, and caught it for a touchdown”. Henson recalls Johnson scoring 4 or 5 TD’s that game.
While Johnson has yet to hear from WVU, he hopes the Mountaineers will soon take notice of what he has to offer. “Yes it would be a blessing to continue to play in West Virginia at WVU” he said of hoping to receive an offer from Holgorsen.
When asked why WVU appeals to him beyond being in his home state Johnson said, “Big time receivers come out of WVU and I want to be one of them. I love how well their receivers have been doing and since I will be a receiver in college it’s nice seeing players coming out of West Virginia and going to the league such as Kevin white and Tavon Austin. They are a passing team, which as a receiver you have got to love. They like to spread out and throw deep sometimes. They seem to have groomed good quarterbacks that I would one day like to play for. It would mean a lot to be able to play for Coach Holgorsen and the rest of the WVU staff.”
Johnson currently holds an offer from James Madison. However, Jefferson’s coach Hunter tells me that Arizona defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel will be coming in May to personally meet with Johnson as well as his teammate Delonte Berry, a 6’2 210 lb linebacker. Hunter has also fielded calls from Marshall, who wants Johnson to visit, as well as Albany.
Johnson plans on visiting WVU this summer and participating in the 7 on 7 camp in Morgantown. He was the first ever recipient of the Randy Moss award which is given to the best receiver in the state as voted on by the West Virginia Writers Association. Johnson, a class of 2016 recruit, was also named first team all-state this past season.
Update: Johnson informed me late Thursday night that after publication of this article he was contacted by WVU. You can read full details here