Notre Dame missed on landing a commitment from Andy Bauer when the elite sophomore offensive tackle from DeSmet High School in Saint Louis, Mo., gave his pledge to Missouri back in April. There is still another top class-of-2014 offensive lineman in the Show Me State, however, in Roderick Johnson of Hazelwood Central High School. And there is mutual interest between the two parties.
Irish assistant coach Bob Elliot stopped by four-star prospect’s school right before summer break to let it be known that Notre Dame would be in touch.
“I’m interested in Notre Dame just like I’m interested in all the schools that are interested in me,” Johnson said. “Notre Dame is a very good school. I’ve checked out their football program, and I know their tradition and know they’re stable. They have very good academics there as well. I’ll take a lot of visits down the road and Notre Dame could be one of them.”
The 6-6, 320-pound bulldozer currently has offers from Iowa, Michigan and Missouri. So far, he has not visited any of the programs recruiting him. He plans to take his visits next summer.
“I’m open to playing anywhere in the country,” Johnson said. “That’s why I will need to get out there and visit schools to find where I fit in best. My mom would like for me to stay close to home, but I would rather travel and see some other places. I’m going to be seeing some other places.”
Until those visits happen, the talented recruit, will shy away from naming favorites.
“All schools are completely equal to me, and I’m still doing my research on all of them,” Johnson said. “I’m not sure who else will be offering, but I’m in contact with a lot of different schools so I’m sure I’ll be picking up a lot more as the football season progresses. I’m not waiting on anyone to offer, so whoever offers will offer. I’m not making a decision for a long time.”
Bauer would not mind seeing Johnson speed up the process and join him as a Tigers pledge.
“He tells me to go to Missouri every day,” he laughed. “He wants the two top recruits to play for their home-state. I tell him, ‘I’ll take it into consideration’ just like I tell all the other schools. We have the typical athlete-to-athlete relationship.”
But Johnson will have his own set of important factors to look at when he makes a decision on a college.
“The academics are going to have to be really good in order for me to go there,” he said. “I really value education. They’re also going to have to have a good football program, where the coaches and the players have a good relationship. I just want to have a good college experience so I want to be somewhere that will meet my basic and social needs.”
Johnson is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 11 offensive tackle in the country, the No. 2 player in Missouri and the nation’s No. 89 overall prospect for the class of 2014. The coveted recruit, however, is not easily satisfied and is always striving to get better.
“I’m a hard worker, and I’m going to try my best to be the No. 1 recruit,” Johnson said. “I’m always trying my best to be the best I can be. I’m a very strong-willed individual. I come through whenever my team needs me, and I’m very powerful on the field.”