Wheatland's Johnson commits to San Diego
National Signing Day came and went on Wednesday and two Mid-Valley area players signed national letters of intent to play college football this fall.
Wheatland High standout Clint Johnson inked a letter to play at the University of San Diego, while Yuba College offensive lineman LeDeven Kirkland signed with Georgia State University, where he will be a member of the school's first-ever football team.
Johnson, who was a two-time Appeal-Democrat All-Area first-teamer at inside linebacker, finished his prep career in impressive fashion last fall by racking up an astounding 17 tackles per game.
"I've always wanted to play college football, so it's a dream come true," Johnson said. "It's not a scholarship, but it's a roster spot so I really can't ask for anything more."
Although he was the Pirates' leading rusher as a junior, Johnson focused mainly on defense during his senior campaign and it paid off as his 120 solo tackles were among the most in the state.
"They invited me down to a camp at the end of my junior year and a few weeks later they offered me a roster spot," said the 6-foot-1, 220-pounder, who also sports a 4.0 GPA. "I talked to my family and decided to commit right then. I already love San Diego."
There he will join a Toreros team that finished 4-7 overall and 3-5 in the Pioneer Football League last season. While it is a Division I-AA conference, the PFL is different than most leagues in that they don't grant athletic scholarships to football players.
Kirkland, a 6-foot-5, 340-pound tackle from Miami, will join a Panthers team, which will compete in the Colonial Athletic Association and will play its home games at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
At GSU, Kirkland will play for a guy who knows a thing or two about manning the trenches in head coach Bill Curry. Formerly the head coach at Georgia Tech, Alabama and Kentucky, Curry was an all-pro center and played for some of the greatest coaches of all time during his 12-year NFL career.
Curry was the starting center for Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl I and also started Super Bowls III and V.