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Wake Forest cornerback Kevin Johnson (River Hill) has interest from a long list of NFL teams

Kevin Johnson
(AP photo by Chuck Burton)

Wake Forest cornerback Kevin Johnson is regarded as one of the top prospects at his position and widely projected to go in the first round.

Thus, the River Hill graduate has been in heavy demand leading up to the NFL draft. That includes a visit with the Dallas Cowboys this week and private workouts already with the San Diego Chargers, Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles, a dinner meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers and upcoming private workouts with the Ravens, New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers.

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"Everything has been going really well," Johnson said in an interview. "You never know what people are thinking, but I'm excited about it. Everything I've been hearing is very positive."

Johnson is coveted for his athleticism and natural coverage skills. The 6-foot, 188-pound all-conference selection ran the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds at the NFL scouting combine with a 41.5-inch vertical leap, a 10-10 broad jump, a 3.89 short shuttle and a 6.79 three-cone drill.

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A four-year starter who never missed a game due to an injury, Johnson has drawn strong interest from the Steelers. Their general manager Kevin Colbert, secondary coach Carnell Lake, player personnel coordinator Dan Rooney Jr. and pro personnel coordinator Brandon Hunt all traveled to his campus pro day workout.

"With his height as a corner, his stock is rising," River Hill coach Brian Van Deusen said. "The NFL has become a pass-first league, so you can see how critical that position is. Just look at all the injuries the Ravens had at cornerback last season and how much that affected them. Kevin is a hard worker and a great kid.

"Kevin was really small and short at first, but he always had quickness and agility and hit that late growth spurt as a senior. He wasn't a very big kid, but he's put on a lot of muscle and strength and is a very coachable kid. He's not afraid to hit. I think he's a first-round guy. Someone has to cover these big receivers in the NFL, and Kevin can do that."

After signing with Wake Forest at just 154 pounds, Johnson has put on 34 pounds since enrolling in school. As a freshman at River Hill, Johnson was just 5 feet tall and 96 pounds.

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Johnson rushed for 1,220 yards and averaged roughly nine yards per carry as a senior and was named an all-star cornerback. Johnson was part of a 40-game winning streak at River Hill that included two Class 2A state championships. He chose Wake Forest over Wisconsin and West Virginia.

"The team that drafts me is going to get a competitor, a hard worker, a film rat and a very confident player," Johnson said. "I'm a guy who's willing to do anything to help the team win. I bring my competitiveness, my feet, my hops, my ball skills, mentality, understanding of the game, my coachability, just my overall athleticism and desire to be great."

Johnson has been getting pointers on the draft process from Ravens wide receiver Michael Campanaro, another River Hill alum who was seventh-round draft pick last year out of Wake Forest.

"He's definitely been giving me great advice throughout the process," Johnson said. "If I have questions, I talk to Mike. He's my best friend. We talk every day. He helps me a lot with the process and getting me prepared for after the draft."

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