The hours spent talking to coaches, working out with his team and weighing the outcomes of a life-impacting decision seemed to be a distant thought for Cedartown’s Jayden Johnson last Wednesday.
The consensus three-star defensive back signed with Arkansas on what is known as Early Signing Day for college football, making his choice to enroll in college early and play for the Razorbacks official.
With a crowd of family, friends and well-wishers joining him in the HON Room of the Polk County College and Career Academy at Cedartown High School, Johnson gave thanks to his family and his coaches for believing in him and supporting him.
The 6-foot-2, 206 pound athlete, who was also a force on offense for the Bulldogs, took several pictures after signing, leading to a makeshift line and providing a taste of fame for Johnson.
“I wouldn’t say famous but it’s just a lot. I feel great having a support system,” he said. “But one day, hopefully I can be famous.”
Johnson had 64 carries for 530 yards for an average of 8 yards per carry in his senior season. He had 20 catches for 348 yards. He also completed two passes, scored nine touchdowns, and got 22 tackles, four interceptions, three pass breakups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
First-year Cedartown head football coach Jamie Abrams said Johnson was a role model for the younger players on the team, always showing up to workout “whenever the door was open.”
“If you look around the room, you mean a lot to a lot of people here,” Abrams said to Johnson while introducing him. “And these people mean a lot to you. So when times get hard at some point, and they will, you’ve got to lean on all these people that are here right now to support you. And always remember that you represent your family, you represent Cedartown, and you represent Polk County.”
Johnson had verbally committed to South Carolina in the summer but switched to Arkansas following the firing of Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp last month. Johnson said Arkansas had been one of his top choices early on and he had been in conversation with Arkansas coaches.
Johnson said it was not a hard decision to commit to the Razorbacks.
“They had been on me heavy before I even committed, and I just felt like it was the right fit for me, the relationships I built with the coaches and stuff, so I feel like I can go there and do great things,” Johnson said.
Johnson will enroll in classes in January after having taken all of the required courses to graduate high school this past semester.