PLAINFIELD – It wasn’t the best of outings for Brownsburg junior quarterback Hunter Johnson, as he and his teammates knocked the rust off Friday in a scrimmage against host Plainfield.
Johnson unofficially completed 6-of-18 passes with an interception.
Of course, the 6-3, 195-pounder also showed why multiple recruiting services have him ranked as the No. 1 QB prospect nationwide in the 2017 class.
Johnson averaged nearly 20 yards per completion and tossed a pair of touchdowns in his night’s work, displaying his pro-style skills with a variety of throws.
Early, it was a deep lob to senior Ball State recruit Tyler Kirtz. Later, he evaded the rush and threw an across-the-field dart to Vincent Lismon. He ended his night with a must-have 21-yard TD strike to Kirtz on the Bulldogs’ final play allotted.
“I’ve never seen a quarterback that I’ve played with put the ball in the right spot like he does,” Kirtz said. “He gets the ball to us quick and where we need it to be.”
A three-year starter, Johnson is a more vocal leader this year, say his teammates and coaches. Friday, he was clapping whenever his teammates did something well and remained engaged in the contest long after his night was over.
“I just want to win games this year, have fun with my team, move the ball up and down the field and score a lot of points,” Johnson said. “We need to win some games this year and that’s what we want to do.”
To that end, Johnson – who already has offers from nearly two dozen Division-I college programs, including Notre Dame, Tennessee, Florida, Miami (Fla.) and nearly every Big Ten school including Indiana and Purdue – said he plans to minimize outside distractions to focus on improving the Bulldogs’ 3-7 record from a year ago.
“I’ve been to a lot of places and seen a lot of places,” Johnson said. “I feel good where I’m at right now. This season, I’m not going to do as many visits as I usually do. I’m just going to focus on my team, be with those guys and win some games.”
Score wasn’t kept during the scrimmage and rules were in place to minimize the risk of injury. Although quarterbacks could wear a colored jersey that signaled they were off-limits to being hit by the defense, Johnson didn’t wear the red one he brought to the game.
“His teammates voted him a captain,” said Bulldogs coach Brett Comer, noting that distinction is a rarity for a junior. “He’s grown into that.”
Johnson is trying to grow those leadership skills both on and off the field, he says, by socializing with his teammates outside of football; whether it’s shooting hoops or going swimming as a group.
“Just trying to build relationships and build trust,” Johnson said. “We’ve got a lot of good pieces, we’ve just got to put it all together. We can be a really good team.”