Hunter Johnson was supposed to receive his U.S. Army All-American Bowl jersey in late October, but sometimes life interferes with football.
Johnson and officials at Brownsburg (Ind.) High asked to postpone the ceremony because a football player at the school, Matt Turk, was critically injured days earlier in a car accident. Turk was in a medically induced coma and had a broken leg and facial injuries.
Johnson received his honorary jersey Monday when the Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance came to high school, and on Tuesday, he and some teammates plan to again visit Turk in the hospital.
“It was definitely tough (when it happened),” Johnson said. “He’s doing really well; everything with the surgery went well. The progress that he’s made has been awesome to see.
“Going into the Ben Davis game, when stuff happens like that, God had a plan and he really has dived into this whole thing. (Turk) is a really strong kid and we’re glad that he’s doing a lot better.”
That Ben Davis (Indianapolis) game turned out to be the last of Johnson’s high school career as Brownsburg fell behind early and lost 49-13. Ben Davis is playing Center Grove in the semi-state finals this week.
He finished with more than 2,400 yards as a senior with 25 touchdowns. Brownsburg went 8-1 in the regular season after going 4-6 last season.
“This season, we had so many seniors and juniors and had a great season,” he said. “An 8-1 regular season is really exciting for all of our guys. Ben Davis was a great team and it wouldn’t surprise me if they won’t the states. For us, it was fun to have that season that we were expecting. It was a special year.”
Johnson, ranked as the No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the country, will play as a high schooler one more time at the Army Bowl in San Antonio before he enrolls early at Clemson.
“It was a goal of mine during my entire high school career to play in this game,” he said. “For it to become a reality for me is really special.”
Johnson says he has a close relationship with the members of the Clemson recruiting class, adding that he communicates every day with the others players. The Army Bowl will be a chance for them to play together for the first time.
Johnson has a bit of a jump when it comes to Clemson’s offense. The Brownsburg coaches went to South Carolina and learned more of the Tigers’ offense in order to integrate it into their offense.
“I’ve been watching the games and learning some of the plays,” Johnson said. “I’ve been able to pick up on what Clemson does. … I’m going in ready to learn a lot and give myself the best opportunity to make a big impact on the team.”
Despite Clemson’s loss to Pittsburgh over the weekend, Johnson is bullish on the Tigers’ chances of making the playoff.
“After losing nine guys to the draft, they’ve been able to stay so consistent and played so well in terms of what they’ve been able accomplish this year with so many freshmen and some vacancies,” he said. “They did lose last week, but sometimes you can’t control some things that happen in some games. I know they are going to play to win every game they can and give themselves the best opportunity possible to play for the championship.”