Clemson commit Hunter Johnson is widely considered one of the top quarterback prospects in the Class of 2017, if not the top. He’s a phenomenal athlete with a cannon for an arm at Brownsburg High School in Indiana. It’s the phenomenal athlete part of that prior sentence which now has him lined up for the kind of cross-country jet setting usually reserved for corporate executives.
As noted by 247 Sports and confirmed to USA TODAY High School Sports by Brownsburg coaches, Johnson is planning to travel to California to participate in the impending Elite 11 Quarterback combine. In the middle of the combine he’ll take a break from the workouts to fly back to Indiana, where he will run as part of Brownsburg’s 1,600-meter relay squad which is ranked No. 1 in state. He’ll then rush back to the airport, fly back to California and finish out the Elite 11 camp, provided he doesn’t suffer an injury somewhere alone the line first.
Johnson’s teammates on that relay squad are brothers Tyler Kirtz and Bryce Kirtz (both football players themselves) and Hari Sathyamurthy, as reported by the Indianapolis Star.
“Hunter is one of those guys who never wants to disappoint his teammates,” Brownsburg boys track & field coach Julie Waggoner told USA TODAY. “I went and approached him and said he would probably have to make a decision, and that’s when he committed to being at the state finals. The Elite 11 is a terrific opportunity for him, too and (Brownsburg head football) Coach Hart, one of the has figured out a flight plan to make it happen for him.
“When he’s at track he stays focused on track and when he’s at football he’s focused on that. We know this will be his last track season so it’s kind of a good finale for everyone if he can go out and win it.”
Johnson’s track season has been an impressive finale indeed, and one that makes a mockery of the classification that has deemed him a “pro-style quarterback.” Make no mistake: This kid can run, and his willingness to add track workouts on top of his football training has not only improved his own mobility and elusiveness on the football field, it has dramatically improved Brownsburg’s track fortunes as well. Once Johnson began showing up for track workouts after his sophomore season other members of the team did as well. The next thing you know, three of the four legs in the school’s top-ranked relay are being run by football players.
Waggoner confirmed that the school does have a backup plan in case something goes awry with Johnson’s flights, but she refused to discuss it out of superstition. Everyone wants Johnson running the relay he has helped lift to the top of the state standings as an outro to a surprising track career that has improved his abilities in multiple sports.
“I had heard before he came out to the track team last year that people didn’t think about him as a runner,” Waggner said. “I think people started to see his running game in the last year and are starting to notice that. People either started paying attention to it a little bit more or maybe he really did improve.
“Hopefully he can make both these events work. I know he’ll say he wants to be at track. I just told him to hydrate, eat well, and continue to take care of himself so he can compete well at everything. He just flew in from San Diego and then had a good workout this morning. If anyone can do this, Hunter can. He’s a machine, he never complains and gives you everything you ask for.”