AUBURN, Ala. — Ryan Johnson was in attendance for Auburn’s Big Cat recruiting weekend, and his trip could not have gone any better.
Johnson, a four-star defensive end from St. Paul’s Episcopal High School (Mobile, Ala.), told SEC Country that Auburn will be one of his final choices when it comes time to narrow down his list of 12 schools.
“They definitely have solidified a spot in my top group,” Johnson said. “Being back around the coaches and players was really great. They were stressing to me that I was a priority to them. They want me here. They want me to not only make an impact on the field but off of it, too.
“It was great being back up here. I kind of missed it.”
Johnson said he’ll release a top five shortly before his senior season begins. Alabama is another school that will make the cut. He’s made multiple trips to both campuses and compared the two schools.
“It’s more laid back here at Auburn and Alabama is known for that business like environment,” Johnson said. “They’re both unique in their own ways. It’s more family-oriented here at Auburn, but there aren’t many big differences.
“They both have a lot to offer. Both of those schools show me how much of a priority I am to them. They are both great schools.”
Academics is really important to Johnson when it comes time to make a decision. That’s why he’s also strongly considering Duke and Stanford. Johnson has nearly a 4.0 GPA, and both SEC schools have made academics a big part of their recruiting pitches to Johnson.
“I got to meet the head of the engineering department at Alabama,” Johnson said. “They’ve definitely shown that it’s not all about football at Alabama. Auburn has also shown me their academic plans, but I’ve been to a lot of places and Auburn is one of the top family environments. The town itself, the coaches and the players make it special here.”
Johnson has no timetable for when a commitment could come.
He is rated as the nation’s No. 6 strong-side defensive end and is the No. 8 prospect in the state of Alabama.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
Chris Kirschner covers Alabama football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Bryant-Denny.