The best is still to come for Brownsburg High School quarterback Hunter Johnson.
The 6-2, 185-pound junior-to-be will be the rare player who starts for four years at a Class 6A football program. Johnson has already earned plenty of attention on the recruiting trail, racking up 11 scholarship offers and designation from recruiting site 247sports.com as the No. 1 pro style quarterback nationally in the 2017 class.
Johnson added another honor on Monday as one of three quarterbacks to earn most valuable player status at the annual Best of the Midwest Combine on the Eastside. Several top in-state players participated, as well as prospects from Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky.
“Probably half (of the 50 quarterback) I’ve seen before and worked out with,” Johnson said. “It was good competing with those guys.”
Johnson, whose older brother Cole played quarterback at Avon and is now a receiver at Northwestern, passed for 1,434 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore at Brownsburg. Along with Johnson, the Bulldogs return their top skill position players in senior-to-be running back Toks Akinribade and senior-to-be receiver Tyler Kirtz.
Akinribade rushed for 1,579 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior and Kirtz caught 47 passes for 660 yards and seven TDs.
“I’m really excited for next year,” Johnson said. “I think it’ll be a great experience. Me and Tyler and Toks work out pretty much every weekend. Toks is in the weight room for football lifting and then he’s out in the hallways working on footwork. He’s been working his butt off. Tyler is a three-sport athlete with track and basketball. I can tell they are excited and the rest of the team is really excited.”
Johnson’s offer list — so far — is impressive: Cincinnati, Indiana, Kentucky, Miami (Ohio), Minnesota, Northwestern, North Carolina, Penn State, Purdue and Western Michigan. He’s visited several of those schools, most recently Indiana, which offered a scholarship while he was in Bloomington in late January.
“I went to several games in the fall,” Johnson said. “You can talk to the coaches on the phone, but it’s nice to see how they react on the field. You can see how they coach and see if that’s a coach I want to play for. You can see their coaching style and how they run their offense. It’s good to watch the games but sometimes you need to study it a little more.”
Johnson credits his older brother, Cole, for helping him acclimate so quickly to 6A football.
“We always had older kids around the house,” he said. “So I’d always play with them. I owe a lot to him, actually.”
Johnson attended Avon Middle School North through eighth grade and then transferred to Brownsburg for his freshman year. Avon has a highly-sought quarterback of its own in senior-to-be Brandon Peters, who was recently offered by Michigan.
Johnson said he hasn’t been caught up in the recruiting frenzy, easy as it could be with all of the early attention.
“I kind of knew what I was getting into having seen my brother go through it,” he said. “I’m just trying to develop a good relationship with the coaches and find the place that fits me best.”
Johnson said he’ll visit Michigan State, Northwestern and Tennessee in the spring but hasn’t yet set any dates.
CATHEDRAL QUARTERBACK DRAWING INTEREST
Cathedral quarterback Max Bortenschlager was also named one of the top three quarterbacks at the Best of the Midwest on Monday.
Bortenschlager, who led Cathedral to a Class 5A state title as a junior, will be the first Irish quarterback since Kofi Hughes in 2009-10 to start two consecutive seasons at quarterback.
“The first couple games were pretty rough,” Bortenschlager said of his junior year. “Once I got comfortable and got adjusted, I thought I did pretty well. It was really just getting familiar with how fast everyone is and how much time I had to get rid of the ball.”
The 6-4 Bortenschlager passed for 2,270 yards and 22 touchdowns as a junior, including three TD passes in the 5A state title game.
Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Miami (Ohio), Purdue and Vanderbilt are all showing interest. He visited Eastern Michigan last weekend and will visit Vanderbilt on March 21. Ball State and Indiana also want to get him in soon.
“I’ve been talking to Indiana the longest,” he said. “I like IU a lot. Vanderbilt I’m really interest in. Those two I really like, but I’m open minded.”
BISHOP CHATARD LINEMAN UPDATE
Bishop Chatard junior Danny Godlevske, named one of the top lineman at the Best of the Midwest, picked up his first offer from Ball State late last month.
Godlevske played alongside Big Ten recruits Matt McCann (Purdue) and Adam Solomon (Illinois) on Chatard’s offensive line last season.
“I learned a lot from them,” Godlevske said. “I learned to stay humble through the recruiting process and to get better every day.”
Godlevske said he’s hearing from several Mid-American Conference schools, including Ball State, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio) and Western Michigan, along with Arkansas and Purdue. He’ll visit Ball State on Friday and Western Michigan on Saturday. He visited Purdue twice in the fall for games and has also been to Bowling Green for a game.
“Coaches tell me they like my aggressiveness and the way I finish blocks,” he said.
Call Star reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.