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Virginia linebacker commits to Maryland

Dinwiddie (Va.) High School head football coach Billy Mills expected his star linebacker, Bradley Johnson, to return home from Maryland's camp this week with a decision on where he'd play college football.

Johnson, who sported offers from Maryland, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, East Carolina, Duke and Richmond, had essentially narrowed his list to the Terps and Hokies.

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"I walked into the weight room yesterday morning and he had a Maryland shirt on, so that pretty much told me what his decision was," Mills said. "Bradley's a very intelligent young man, real mature for his age. He thinks ahead. He didn't take his decision lightly, so he's excited about what lies ahead the next four years."

Mills actually thought Johnson, 6 feet 2, 215 pounds, was leaning toward Virginia Tech.

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"It came as a little bit of a surprise," Mills said. "But Bradley, he felt real good about the place and had a good visit with coach [Ralph] Friedgen. I was a little bit surprised. I thought he'd go up there, come back and commit to [Virginia] Tech, but I don't push my kids one way or another, so it was his choice and they got a good one in Bradley. He'll do well. …

"There's some things with academics down the road with the internship program that he was really excited about. He's the type of kid that looks beyond football. He's special in that way. So I think the decision came down to that and they did a real good job recruiting him."

Johnson, who contributed 113 tackles and two interceptions as a junior, is slated to play the SAM linebacker for the Terps. Mills isn't sure if the Terps will redshirt Johnson, but from a physical standpoint, he'll be ready to contribute.

"He's not the kid that needs a year to get the physical part," Mills said. "He's a strong kid. He power-cleans over 325, benches 340. He's a strong kid and can run well, too. He's a tireless worker. He'll be ready physically. It's just a matter of how he picks up the playbook and who's ahead of him.

"He's versatile. He plays basically the strong safety for us. So he can play outside in a 4-4 [defense]. He can play one of the safeties. He's a great cover guy and a big-time hitter. He's got the size that he can go inside and play. There's a lot that he can do. We can use him in a lot of situations."

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