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BVA's Johnson scaling back recruiting second time around

| Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Belle Vernon offensive tackle Dorian Johnson (left) verbally committed to Penn State last month but did not comment following the announcement of the NCAA's sanctions. Jim Ference | Tribune-Review file
Belle Vernon's Dorian Johnson. Jim Ference | The Valley Independent
Belle Vernon offensive tackle Dorian Johnson. (Jim Ference | Valley Independent)

The first time around, Dorian Johnson enjoyed all the attention he got from colleges early on during the recruiting process.

But as the interest and competition picked up, the experience became less fun and more a distraction for Belle Vernon Area's 6-6, 290-pound tackle.

He committed early to Penn State, hoping to put an end to the process so he could concentrate on his senior season at BVA. However, he decommited just before the season began after NCAA sanctions were announced against the university in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky case.

When Johnson announced he was again back on the open market, he said he would delay all recruiting talk until after BVA's season ended.

The Leps' campaign came to a heartbreaking finish last week with a 17-16 loss to Central Valley in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs.

True to his word, Johnson did not talk about recruiting during the season so as not to be distracted.

Now, he is getting back into it.

Only this time, he is using knowledge gained from the first experience.

“I think I'm going to do it a little differently, be a little more laid back and only deal with the schools I'm really interested in,” Johnson said.

Those schools are Pitt, Ohio State and Virginia Tech.

Johnson has scheduled recruiting visits to Pitt (Nov. 16) and Ohio State (Dec. 7).

While he has yet to schedule a visit to Virginia Tech, he said he will do so once he talks with the Hokies' coaches.

Although he is not close to making a final decision, Johnson admitted Pitt is the leading candidate among the three.

“I would say right now it's Pitt, Ohio State, then Virginia Tech,” he said.

It certainly doesn't hurt the Panthers' chances that Pitt's offensive coordinator is Joe Rudolph, a BVA graduate and a standout lineman when he played there.

Looking back on his senior season, Johnson admitted that while the year didn't go like he had hoped, it was a good experience.

“I wanted us to do better, but I was really happy with how we played our last game (against Central Valley),” he said. “We finally came together as a team and played hard together. Overall, I had fun with the season.”

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or joliver@tribweb.com.

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