Cedar Grove’s Netori Johnson was one of the top offensive linemen to camp at UGA this summer. The nearly 6-foot-5 junior was about 15 pounds heavier then. He’s shed some weight.
Johnson committed to Alabama in May, but told the AJC on Aug. 5 he was loving UGA. He said his decision was bunched up at the top with Alabama, UGA and Auburn. He did establish UGA as his No. 2 school.
What has changed over the last three weeks? Well, there’s some good and bad news regarding UGA’s chances.
The 4-star prospect told the AJC after a loss to Hallandale on Saturday that UGA and Auburn were neck-and-neck at No. 2. The Bulldogs are no longer his clear No. 2. He also said USC has entered the mix. He’s intrigued by the thought of playing in the California sunshine.
That’s the bad news for UGA. The good news is that Johnson has established a great rapport with UGA offensive line coach Rob Sale.
“You know what I will have to say the realest coach out there of all the coaches that have been talking to me is Coach Sale,” Johnson said. “I’m looking for a coach I can go play for that I trust and I really trust Coach Sale without a doubt.
“He’s always keeping it real and has never been fake with me. He’ll talk with you and laugh with you and be real with you. He’s always been just like that every time since I have known him.”
Relationships will be big with Johnson. His stock should only go up over the next 18 months.
“I look at the coaches and see how real they are with me,” he said. “Some lay it on so smooth and you can’t help but notice if they are being fake they’ve done it so many times that’s why they make it sound so good. I watch how they act. I just want them to be real with me.”
What keeps him committed to Alabama?
“I like (Alabama offensive line) coach (Mario) Cristobal,” Johnson said. “You also can’t go wrong with Coach (Nick) Saban. That’s about it right now. You can’t go wrong with being committed to Alabama.”
Jeff Sentell covers UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.