By Hale McGranahan.
Last week was rather eventful for Clemson defensive line commitment Sterling Johnson.
The three-star defensive tackle from Clayton-Cleveland (North Carolina) received his jersey for the Under Armour All-American game on Thursday. That day, he also went public with his decision to sign the financial aid agreement papers with Clemson.
“For something like that to happen, it’s slightly overwhelming,” Johnson told TheClemsonInsider, during an interview earlier this week.
“It’s a blessing and a well-eared opportunity for myself. I believe that the Lord kind of channeled it from hard work, bringing the support I get from friends and family.”
The decision to enroll at Clemson in January has been in the works for several weeks.
“I actually signed a month ago, but I only told like two or three people,” Johnson said. “I realized that it’s ultimately the best decision for me. Clemson is losing six defensive linemen and, on top of that, me being the only defensive lineman coming in (early), that would allow me to readjust to football and school, things of that nature.”
With so many departures from the Tigers’ defensive line, Johnson looks forward to competing for playing time as a freshman.
“That’s going to be really exciting, just for the simple fact that I’m from a small community. Everybody’s eyes will be on me, but I also know that I represent them,” he said. “If I show out, which the plan is, everyone will be excited, so that would be really good, too.”
So far this season, Johnson has shown out for Cleveland High School: 60 tackles, 34 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, five blocked kicks, two forced fumbles and two pass breakups.
The 6-5, 280-pound prospect is impressed with what he’s seen from the Clemson defense this season.
“The way the defense plays is outstanding. They’re clutch,” Johnson said. “Every time the team needs a play…it could be from Vic (Beasley), Shaq (Lawson), (Grady) Jarrett, Stephone Anthony, (Jayron) Kearse, anybody can make a play for the team when they really need it.”