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December 4, 2011

Marcus Johnson's dream comes true

Marcus Johnson was 11 years old when he saw the Vince Young-led Texas Longhorns win a national title. He's been a die-hard Longhorn fan ever since.

Over the years, Johnson, a talented wide receiver out of Clear Springs, has put in countless hours working on his craft, hoping to catch the eye of college coaching staffs and someday garner an offer from the Texas Longhorn coaches.

On Sunday, his dreams came true.

After picking up a written scholarship offer from Mack Brown on Saturday, Johnson spoke with UT assistant coach Major Applewhite on Sunday afternoon to give the Longhorns a commitment.

"Over the last two weeks, Marcus has been on quite a journey," said Johnson's father, Marlon Johnson. "He has decided to become a Longhorn, his childhood dream school. It truly is a dream come true."

With the pledge, Johnson becomes the Longhorns' 21st commitment of the 2012 class and he joins fellow receivers Cayleb Jones, Thomas Johnson and Kendall Sanders.

One of the state's most productive receivers in 2011, Johnson helped lead Clear Springs into the playoffs, catching 66 passes for 1,310 yards and 16 touchdowns. He added two kick return touchdowns and one rushing touchdown on the year.

Johnson really began to pick up recruiting steam in the summer, after he turned in some impressive camp performances that brought attention from colleges across the country.

In June, he accepted an early scholarship offer from Texas Tech but in the last couple months, the distance of playing in Lubbock caused Johnson to weigh other options. Both Texas A&M and Texas began to show increased interest, with the Aggies extending an offer. The Texas coaches, tight on scholarship numbers, brought Johnson in for an unofficial visit in mid-November but told Johnson they needed a couple more weeks to sort through their scholarship situation. Johnson decided on Thanksgiving day to give Texas A&M a commitment when it looked like Texas might not have room but with coaching uncertainty in College Station and the recent offer from Texas, Johnson decided to make one final switch. He notified the Texas A&M coaches last Tuesday that he was decommitting, he's now a Texas Longhorn and Johnson's not looking back.

"At the time, when Marcus made his decision to go forward with the A&M offer, he thought there wasn't a chance that UT was going to offer him," Marlon Johnson said. "But after UT made their offer, he realized that all his hopes and dreams had finally come true and it was just an opportunity he couldn't refuse. Texas just feels right for him, he feels it will be the perfect situation for him to grow as a person, as a man and as a football player.

"Marcus has tremendous respect for both Texas Tech and Texas A&M. He did not take the scholarship offers from those schools lightly. But when Texas decided to make him an offer, he just could not go against everything he's wanted and wished for ever since he was a child. It was a huge decision, but in the end, after talking to his coaches and us, his parents, we told him he had to be comfortable with his decision. From that point, he decided to roll with the Longhorns. He's extremely excited about his decision and we're very proud of him."

With the commitment, Johnson gives Texas another potential playmaker at a position in which the Longhorns are still looking to build depth. Johnson's experience playing the position as well as his physical skills could allow him to come in and contribute right away for the Texas offense.

"There's no doubt in his mind that he will be able to help Texas and help them win a national championship. That's his ultimate goal," said Johnson's father.

Johnson will take an official visit to Texas next weekend for the Longhorns' annual banquet weekend.


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