The hype on Screven County wide receiver Tyquan Johnson came to an unexpected conclusion Saturday evening when South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp tweeted #SpursUp!
The rising senior will continue to be a Gamecock through his college years as he gave his verbal commitment to the University of South Carolina. This tentatively brings the recruitment of Johnson to an end, which heated up rapidly going into March.
“I had a relationship with coach (Bryan) McClendon since he was at Georgia and he kept checking in on me and my family when he went over to South Carolina,” Johnson said. “In the end he and Coach (Will) Muschamp just seemed to care about me more than the other schools. It was an easy decision.”
Going into March Johnson had only four offers from Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Cincinnati and Western Kentucky. But following March his offers tripled, with more notable offers coming from West Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Kansas State. As to what really triggered the waterfall of offers from D-1 schools, Johnson said he thinks it came down to The Opening — a well known Nike camp which attracts the best recruits from around the country.
“I went to the Nike Opening Camp back then and I thought I did really well in my measurable tests,” Johnson said. “After I ran and jumped I had coaches from all over coming up to me wanting my information. So I really think that camp opened up some eyes.”
Johnson broke out as one of the best receivers in his classification if not the entire state last season when he was the primary target for quarterback Armani Bunbury in a Screven offense that averaged 6.8 yards a play and 9.4 yards a pass. As a junior Johnson consistently took the top off of defense on vertical routes, averaging 25.7 yards a catch.
He would go on to grab 32 passes for a total of 822 yards and 13 touchdowns, meaning two of every five passes Johnson caught were worth six points. In an I-option offense which is primarily designed for CJ Wright and Kim Hunter to run the ball, Johnson added an element which made it one of the most dangerous in class 2A.
Johnson would go on to be named first-team All State by four different publications including the AJC and would make his second consecutive All-Region 4-2A team. Screven head coach Ron Duncan says he believes the Gamecocks got a steal with Johnson.
“South Carolina is getting a player who is close to six-foot-four and has developed into one of the top sprinters in the state of Georgia,” Duncan said. “There is no doubt he will be successful and I could not be more proud of him.”
Johnson is listed as a consensus three-star recruit by Rivals and 247Sports, and according to Rivals Johnson is the highest-rated recruit to come out of Sylvania since running back Michael Cooper was rated a four-star prospect in 2002. Cooper would go on to lead the Bulldogs in rushing yards the 2003 season.
Johnson will have some stiff competition for playing time once he gets on campus.Although he joins Darius Rush as just the second receiver in the Gamecock class of 2018, four-star pass catchers Shi Smith and Ortre Smith are already on campus now as freshman. But Johnson welcomes the challenge, saying that never deterred his decision.
“I’m not worried about any of that, I confident in what I can do as a player,” Johnson said. “I’m going to get my playing time. I’ve just got to keep working and get better.”
Fans who want to see Johnson in action will be able to do so at the Erk Russell Classic on August 19 when Screven County faces off against Bluffton High School at 7:30 p.m.