Bobby Johnson was a virtual unknown until he released a highlight tape towards the end of his senior season. That's when recruiting started to take off for the 6-foot-5, 275-pound lineman. After experiencing the process for a while, he decided to make a commitment to Fresno State.
"After my visit, I went home and thought about it," Johnson said. "I spoke to one of my coaches and he advised me about the whole situation. It was them or USC and eventually I decided to go with Fresno State."
He actually made his decision when Tim DeRuyter and Cameron Norcross came to Carson High School for a visit.
"Coach DeRuyter and coach Norcross came down today (1/28) for what was supposed to be an in home visit, but we just stayed at the school," Johnson said. "That's when I decided to commit. I was still on USC a little bit and I wanted to take my visit. I wanted to give them a chance. But the more we started talking, the more I started to realize that Fresno State is for me. So I just said it right before they left. They were really excited."
Johnson's official visit this past weekend helped him reach that realization.
"I never really talked to the coaches about the academic part of the school," Johnson said. "When I went there, I got everything cleared up. We talked about my education, classes and life on campus. After that, we talked about football. We went over the type of offense they run, the system they're in and what they expect of offensive linemen. Coach Norcross told me that just because I'm a tackle on the roster, doesn't mean I'm just a tackle. He said he uses the best five and has no problem moving guys around. I also got to know my host, David (Patterson) and a few of the players. They're really cool people. They're tight knit and really close, like a family."
That was just one reason he felt Fresno State was the right fit.
"It's sort of far from where I live," Johnson said. "I wanted to go away from home for college. Also what they've done with that program is impressive. They've won back to back conference championships. The players are also really cool with each other. There's a bond that goes beyond just the position groups. At Fresno State, everyone is just cool with each other. It's one big family."
The three-star prospect didn't just choose the Bulldogs over scholarship offers from San Diego State and New Mexico. He chose them over potential scholarship offers from the Big 10 and Pac-12.
"Purdue just started to show interest, but I haven't spoken to them yet," Johnson said. "They're coming down tomorrow (1/29) and I'm going to listen to what they have to say."
USC has been recruiting him for much longer than Purdue.
"USC was really interested in me," Johnson said. "They were the first school to contact me after I made a highlight tape a couple of months ago. That was when coach (Steve) Sarkisian was at Washington but he was also interested in recruiting me for that program. When they came to USC, they told me they were interested. I even have a visit scheduled for this weekend (1/31) but they haven't offered yet. I need to talk to my coaches and weigh everything out before I visit."
Although he just made a commitment, Johnson could still end up as a Trojan. But it would be hard for them to beat out Fresno State at this point.
"If USC offered, I would probably consider it," Johnson said. "I doubt I would change my mind though. I'm a Bulldog."
No matter what unfolds leading up to signing day, it'll be worth being in Carson (Calif.) on Feb. 5. Johnson will participate in a ceremony at his high school that starts at 12:45 P.M.