Fort Hill's Ty Johnson was undecided at breakfast, got a new offer by lunch and was a Maryland commit by dinner.
Johnson, who played running back, wide receiver and cornerback for the Sentinels as a junior last season, committed to Maryland on Sunday after just a few hours of deliberating. For the Cumberland native — who was attending one of head coach Randy Edsall’s prospect camps for the second summer in a row — the decision to stay close to home was an easy one.
“They gave me an offer around lunchtime, and I was just thinking about it,” Johnson said in a phone interview. “And just being there and being around the culture, it made me think that this is a place I could call home for the next four years.”
Johnson had just one offer, from Football Championship Subdivision school Albany, before Sunday.
Fort Hill coach Todd Appel said that’s been the norm for his Class 1A, western-Maryland program: Until Johnson’s commitment to the Big Ten-bound Terps on Sunday, Fort Hill hadn’t produced a Football Bowl Subdivision recruit since 1991.
But Johnson’s performance at Maryland's camp, stocked with ambitious high school players from around the country, appears to have been the difference-maker in breaking Fort Hill’s trend.
“We don’t really get a lot of attention, but Ty’s really worked hard for this,” Appel said. “When you go to a camp like that, there’s kids from 4A schools from different states, and if you measure up to those kids at face value, then it doesn’t really matter where you come from.”
En route to Fort Hill’s 1A championship in December, Johnson averaged 17.4 yards to go along with 16 rushing touchdowns, five receiving touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Johnson noted that he was recruited to College Park as an “athlete” with no set spot on the field at the moment. In addition to his high school positions, Appel thinks his star could potentially play split-end or free safety for the Terps.
“When I go up there and start practicing and all, it will be wherever [Esdall] may think,” Johnson said.
The versatile Johnson has narrowed his choices down further in the classroom, though: He’s already eyeing a degree in either engineering or sports science.
And Appel is hoping his player makes a name for himself on all fronts.
“It proves that you can come from anywhere and get an opportunity just like Ty was awarded,” Appel said. “I think maybe more of that can come our way if Ty does well there. It opens the door for other kids at our school.”
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