Belle Vernon's Johnson picks Penn State
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The verdict in the Jerry Sandusky sexual assault case had been announced the night before, the latest development in a scandal that has rocked the Penn State football program.
When Belle Vernon offensive lineman Dorian Johnson visited Penn State Saturday, his focus was on its future.
The 6-foot-6, 285-pound Johnson, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds and is regarded as one of the top left tackles in the nation, gave the Nittany Lions a verbal commitment Sunday. The four-star prospect was one of the most heavily recruited players in Western Pennsylvania, with programs such as reigning BCS national champion Alabama and traditional powers Nebraska, Notre Dame and Southern Cal among his 30 scholarship offers. His recruitment, however, turned into an intense regional battle that saw Johnson pick Penn State over Pitt, Ohio State and West Virginia.
Johnson is the Nittany Lions 12th recruit in the Class of 2013 and the first WPIAL player to commit to new Penn State coach Bill O'Brien, hired in January to replace the legendary Joe Paterno after he was fired in November following the announcement of the charges against Sandusky, his longtime defensive coordinator and architect of Linebacker U. Penn State signed South Allegheny tight end Jesse James this past winter, but he committed to Paterno's staff and enrolled in January before O'Brien was hired.
“(The Sandusky case) didn't have anything to do with my decision at all,” Johnson said. “I like that the new staff and the football program is going in a new direction.”
Johnson said he ultimately picked Penn State over Pitt, which he visited a dozen times, despite a strong relationship with Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph, a Belle Vernon alum.
“I was comfortable with both schools and their coaching staffs,” Johnson said. “I like Penn State's campus and felt like I would get a good education. You're playing big-time football.”
O'Brien and his staff hosted Johnson and his mother, Lisa Cotton, and maternal grandmother, Jackie Johnson, on campus Saturday afternoon. On their ride home, Johnson told them he felt comfortable at Penn State, and they gave their stamp of approval.
“I told them on the ride home, ‘This is where I want to be,'” Johnson said. “I definitely wanted to get it out of the way and focus on having a good senior year.”
Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7812.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Harrison shines again as Pirates clip Reds, 2-1
- Outbound 376 closed because of man on exit sign
- Secret judicial ruling blocks release of sexually explicit emails
- Steelers claim former Cowboys cornerback Webb
- Franklin Regional security guard fighting to get job back
- High school roundup: Greensburg Salem shocks Gateway in opener
- Pitt’s obscure opener still matters
- Veteran Keisel settles into role with Steelers
- Pirates notebook: Lambo recalled to bolster bench
- Trueman sparks North Allegheny’s 14-0 victory over Seneca Valley
- Pickup takes out 40-foot pine tree in Harrison; officer injured