By: Logan Newman, USA TODAY High School Sports | November 26, 2018
Michael Johnson Jr. knows his Under Armour All-America history.
He’s watched the game since elementary school and rattled off a list of big-name talent he remembers watching such as Julio Jones, Jarvis Landry and Kyler Murray.
The list also includes an NFL quarterback Johnson got to meet before the high school athlete’s playing days even began in earnest: Seahawks QB Brett Hundley.
Hundley was a UCLA quarterback when Johnson’s dad coached at the school in 2011. Coming out of high school that year, Hundley was the No. 4 ranked dual-threat quarterback in the country.
Johnson, a four-star athlete at Sheldon High School (Eugene, Ore.), is the No. 7 dual-threat QB in the nation and the top-rated player in Oregon, per 247 Sports.
“I think we’re similar. It’s a guy that I always looked up to,” Johnson said. “I really looked at (him), when he was in college especially, I always watched his highlights.”
He was too young to really talk football with Hundley at the time, but he remembers meeting him at UCLA. Now, like Hundley, Johnson will play in the Under Armour game.
He was presented with the Under Armour All-America Game jersey Monday at his school as part of the American Family Insurance Selection Tour.
“It’s just been a dream of mine since I first watched the game when I was in fifth grade, or fourth grade,” Johnson said. “It’s just been something I’ve been working for … It’s just surreal that it’s actually happening.”
When describing his play style, Johnson used one word: Electric.
Based on his stats, it’s easy to see why.
He has thrown for 1,707 yards as a senior with 19 touchdowns and just three interceptions, and he has run for 1,177 yards and scored 16 times on the ground.
His longest pass was 73 yards. His longest run was 93. He has broken the 100-yard rushing barrier in six of 11 games this season.
Johnson’s thought process on whether to take off or continue reading through his progressions is a simple concept.
“I think normally it’s just whichever could be the biggest play, whichever is better for my team,” he said.
His diverse skill set earned him offers from a who’s-who of programs, and he chose Penn State in August after also visiting Florida State, Miami and North Carolina State.
Part of the reason he chose the Nittany Lions was the relationship his family has with Ja’Juan Seider, a running backs coach for the team. Johnson’s dad, Mike Johnson, was a coach on the San Diego Chargers when the team drafted Seider in 2000.
That relationship was a large piece of the “family-oriented” feel Penn State presented Johnson.
“There’s really good guys, and some who I’d love to be in a room with every day,” the QB commit said. “It’s just really a great school.”
As he goes to the Under Armour game and Penn State, Johnson will remember a key piece of advice his dad gave him. Johnson Sr. is a good person to learn from – the Chargers are one of four NFL coaching staffs he has been a part of, a resume that includes quarterbacks coach for Michael Vick’s Atlanta Falcons, one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in NFL history.
“Be humble and just always work hard,” Johnson said. “Don’t take anything for granted.”
The Under Armour All-America Game is scheduled for Jan. 3 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. and will be televised live on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. EST.