WVU Commit Will Johnson Feels at Home with Mountaineers - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Commit Will Johnson Feels at Home with Mountaineers


Will Johnson became the fourth recruit to commit to West Virginia following last weekend's official visit to campus. The brief stay in Morgantown was all he needed to know he felt comfortable with the Mountaineers.

"He's just really excited to finally find a home and he thought the coaching staff was absolutely outstanding out there," says Derrin Lamker, Johnson's coach at Osseo (Minn.) High School. "He just kind of felt it was sort of the same as Minnesota in West Virginia – the same type of people, the same down home good feeling."

Johnson stands at a towering 6-foot-7, 245 pounds and is listed as a tight end, a position that does not exist within the context of WVU's offense under Dana Holgorsen.

Lamker says Johnson's exact role for the Mountaineers is yet to be determined, but he believes there are plenty of possibilities. He even makes quite a bold statement when explaining who Johnson's game reminds him of.

"You never want to make a comparison to this [NFL tight end Rob] Gronkowski guy from the Patriots, but he's got that size and those type of hands and he can move around," says Lamker. "A kid like that, you can line him up in the backfield and motion him out and he ends up being a nice little lead blocker and someone who can get out in the flats and catch the ball for you."

Being compared to the tight end who just set the single-season record for touchdown receptions at his position in the NFL is at one time premature and ambitious, but it's not a bad goal to have.

Regardless of the exact definition of his part in the offense, Lamker has extreme confidence that Johnson will arrive in Morgantown ready to work and do whatever it takes to help the Mountaineers improve in 2012.

"He's the smartest kid on my football team," says Lamker. "He knows exactly where to line up every time and athletically, he'll be fine. He'll do the right things and he's the type of kid that says, ‘Hey, if the coaches want me to play tackle, I'll play tackle. If they want me to be the kicker, I'll be the kicker.' You don't find too many kids who are just a team player like that."

Johnson had plenty of opportunities to attend other major college programs with offers from schools like Auburn, Miami (Fla.), Iowa State and his hometown Minnesota Gophers, but ultimately he felt he needed to get away while maintaining a similar feel to the atmosphere he was accustomed to.

"He felt that when he got to [WVU] it was just the right place for him and he's not a very flashy kid, he just felt it's a good, blue collar program that works hard and plays on a New Year's Day bowl every year and that was important to him," says Lamker.

The upcoming Orange Bowl and the Mountaineers' recent history of competing in quality postseason games was a big draw for Johnson. Not only do bowl games bring national spotlight to a program, but they also offer the players and coaches an extra 15 practices to get better.

Playing in the state of Minnesota, Johnson recognizes the importance of a bowl game after watching the Gophers struggle to make the postseason in recent years. 

Lamker is excited to see what kind of player Holgorsen and the WVU staff can transform his prize athlete into over the next four or five years in Morgantown, and he's certain that Johnson will represent the program well.

"He's a great kid. You're going to enjoy the heck out of him and he definitely will not miss a class and he'll be on time to every event you ask him to be at," says Lamker. "My excitement more for him is that he gets to move on to another level of football. I think that'll be really fun for him. Not to say high school was easy because he got double-teamed all the time, but just to be one of the guys rather than the freakishly large kid that stands on the end."

At 6-foot-7, Johnson may not lose that distinction when he reaches the college level.  

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