Winter Garden West Orange wide receiver Garrett Johnson ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash at FSU's Jimbo Fisher prospects camp Thursday and immediately earned a tour of the facilities. (CHRIS HAYS/ORLANDO SENTINEL)
Florida State offensive line coach Rick Trickett’s thumb clicked his stop watch, his eye brows raised and he smiled. Then he looked back at West Orange wide receiver Garrett Johnson and flashed four fingers … twice.
Johnson, a 5-foot-9, 162-pound receiver, knew exactly would that meant, and a big smile of relief flashed across his face.
In the sweltering heat of the FSU Jimbo Fisher Camp, Johnson was on campus for one thing. He needed to raise some eyebrows. He needed to stand out in some way, and with his final effort of the day, he did just that.
He had gone through the motions in the wide receiver drills, catching passes and running routes and all of the other mundane stuff that sometimes makes it hard to stand out in a crowd. But after running a 4.47-second 40-yard dash, as Trickett and FSU wide receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey each stood at the finish line with stopwatches, it made for Johnson’s perfect moment.
“I feel good. It kinda surprised me,” said Johnson, sweat rolling down his face from the Tallahassee heat. “I wasn’t expecting that one.”
He had run a 4.53-second 40 in his first attempt, but he bettered that time by almost a whole tenth-of-a-second on the second go.
Immediately afterward, Trickett asked Johnson to meet him at the Bobby Bowden statue outside Doak Campbell Stadium to go on a tour of the facilities. He could walk away from Tallahassee today with an offer, but if nothing else, he’s definitely on the Seminoles’ radar.
Johnson, a 5-foot-9, 162-pound wide receiver who is ranked No. 9 in the Sentinel’s 2014 Central Florida Super60, has been raising a lot of eyebrows lately. He was at Will Muschamp’s camp in Gainesville this past Saturday, and the Gators were equally impressed with his skills.
“Florida is pretty much saying I need to pick up some more weight and I haven’t really had a chance to talk to Coach Dawsey yet here,” Johnson said.
Johnson is a man of few words, but his feet spoke volumes, and Dawsey was surely listening.
Three months ago there had been almost no attention paid to the players who has been the Orlando area’s second leading receiver in yards and touchdowns over the past three seasons.
His best year was as a sophomore, when he caught 55 passes for 1,014 yards and 10 touchdowns. His production fell off last year when he played both receiver and cornerback. He caught 49 balls as a junior for 685 yards and seven TDs. West Orange will also use Johnson on running plays off the end, and he has scored two touchdowns and gained almost 200 yards on 21 carries.
Only Ryan Sousa of Lake Nona has more yards, catches and TDs over the past two seasons. He currently has 11 offers from Appalachian State, Arizona, Boston College, UConn, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Iowa State, Kentucky, Marshall, Northwestern and USF.
“All the offers I have right now, I like them, but I’m hoping that maybe I can get Florida and Florida State, as well,” Johnson said. “A lot has changed.”
And it could change even more.
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.