By USA TODAY High School Sports | October 7, 2016 1:04 pm ET
It wasn’t just another day Friday for St. Paul’s Episcopal (Mobile, Ala.) defensive end Ryan Johnson. In fact, in his own words, it was a big day.
‼️Big Day Tomorrow… Last Homecoming Game in E.E.Delaney & Under Armour All-American Jersey Presentation‼️ Blessings on Blessings! 🙏🏾
— Ryan Johnson 4⃣4⃣ (@ryanjohnson_50) October 7, 2016
Johnson was presented an honorary Under Armour All-America Game jersey Friday at his school as part of the Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance.
“It was great just to have everyone come and support me.,” he said afterward. “It has been a lot of hard work to get to where I am, and to have everyone at my school and my family there just means a lot.”
The game, which will be played Jan. 1 in Orlando, gives Johnson a chance to prove himself among the nation’s best, and he also hopes it will serve as a learning and growing opportunity.
“I just hope to better myself as a player, being around all these great athletes from across the country,” he said. “I just want to do the best I can and build on what I’ve done as a player and a person.”
And he has done quite a lot as a player. So much, in fact, that he has pulled in nearly 40 scholarship offers from schools across the country. He has pared that list down a bit, but he doesn’t plan on deciding on his future school quite yet.
“I’m probably down to six or seven teams,” Johnson said. “I plan to take my official visits sometime soon, so I’m kind of narrowing things down but I’m not really sure when I’ll commit, but it will probably be sometime in January.”
It’s plenty reasonable to assume, though, that Johnson will do a lot of thinking about Alabama and Auburn, given he’s from the state. He acknowledged this fact, though he insisted this is plenty more than a two-horse race.
“When you’re from Alabama, everybody dreams of playing for Alabama and Auburn, but I’m not just choosing between those two,” Johnson said. “They’re both high on my list, but I’m not going to say it’s just an in-state battle.
“I’m still open to a few schools, but (Alabama and Auburn) are great schools with great programs.”