Johnson commits to ECU over UNC
By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector
Thursday, May 17, 2018
East Carolina football landed a big commitment on Thursday afternoon in D.H. Conley junior wide receiver C.J. Johnson.
Wake Forest, N.C. State and Duke also showed interest in the 6-foot-2, 200-pound receiver. Johnson had narrowed his selection to ECU, Virginia Tech and North Carolina prior to his announcement, but it was hometown ECU that landed another of the many talented prospects in eastern North Carolina over UNC.
“Ever since I was little, I grew up going to ECU games. I knew ever since I was little that I wanted to be a Pirate,” Johnson said.
The Pirates run through Johnson’s blood. He explained he had never been to another college football game prior to his recruiting process, and that while schools tried their hardest to lure him out of Greenville, he always felt it was best for him to play for the team he grew up watching.
“My favorite players were Dwayne Harris and Justin Hardy growing up,” Johnson said.
Johnson will be looking to follow in the footsteps of legendary ECU receivers such as Harris, Hardy and Zay Jones, a tall task, but one he is ready to face.
Johnson will reunite with former Conley and current ECU freshman quarterback Holton Ahlers. With Ahlers quarterbacking the Vikings in 2017, Johnson recorded 68 catches for 1,547 yards and 31 touchdowns.
Johnson joked that Ahlers had pitched joining the East Carolina roster several times throughout his recruiting process, but ultimately he made the decision on his own. He will, however, rely on Ahlers and his experience with the team and campus to make his transition to the next level as smooth as possible following his senior season.
Former Conley standout Duce Fuller also is a freshman receiver for the Pirates and worked well with Ahlers during ECU’s spring practice this year.
“I wanted to be a Pirate, so having my former quarterback there is just another feature,” Johnson said.
Johnson is looking forward to his time at ECU once it arrives, as he hopes to help turn around a team that went 3-9 in each of the last two season. Johnson explained he is eager to get to work and make the Pirates a contender again.
Before he steps foot on campus, Johnson will work through one last season with Conley. With his commitment solidified, Johnson said he will get back to preparing for the season as he always has and not changing his approach in any way.
“We’re going to the state championship,” he said.
With Johnson’s commitment, the Pirates landed one of several talented prospects in the area. The team also is courting Farmville Central 6-2, 330-pound defensive lineman Keziah Everett and South Central wide receiver/defensive end Jeremy Lewis as the Pirates look to keep more hometown talent in eastern North Carolina.
Johnson became the Pirates’ sixth verbal commitment of the 2019 class.
Contact Jake Keator at email@example.com, 252-329-9594 and follow @JakeKeatorDR on Twitter.