Edwardsville (IL) junior running back Justin Johnson Jr. burst onto the scene as a sophomore and is off to a great start this season. His school also gets a good amount of college traffic through it. Recent Edwardsville grads to play major college ball include A.J Epenesa at Iowa and Kendall Abdur-Rahman at Norte Dame.
Justin Johnson Jr is a 4-star running back who is ranked as the 281st best overall player in the 2021 class and ranked as the 7th ranked player in the state of Illinois and the 16th ranked running back nationally. His recruitment is about to blow up. His elusiveness and athleticism make him one of the most dynamic running backs in the class of 2021. I took some time to talk to him about his recruitment.
Why do you play football?
Justin Johnson Jr: I’ve been playing football since I was 5 years old and I fell in love with the sport. Now I see that it can take me far in life, so I work extra hard to be successful at it.
What would you say are some of your strengths of your game and what do you think you need to improve on?
Justin Johnson Jr: I’m very good at breaking tackles, making people miss, and getting into the end zone. My speed can use a little work.
How is your recruiting process going and what has been the most enjoyable part about it?
Justin Johnson Jr: It’s going pretty good, the most enjoyable is visiting the different colleges.
What are you looking for in a football program?
Justin Johnson Jr: I’m looking for a school that fits my style of play, which is running the ball. Also, a school that has a good engineering program.
How about playing as a freshman? A staff that gets you to the next level?
Justin Johnson Jr: That’s pretty important too. It would be great to play as a freshman and have a greater chance to get to the next level.
Which school would you say, if any, is in the lead of your recruitment?
Justin Johnson Jr: There isn’t a specific school in the lead.
St. Louis seems to be a pipeline for the Illini football program. Cory Patterson has helped spearhead a recruiting boom in St. Louis. Justin Johnson Jr. will be one of the most prioritized running backs come 2021. He has the “it” factor that can change a program in a heartbeat.
I think Justin will consider Illinois as one of his final schools, however, he might not be a lock as I expect his recruitment to continue to blow up this season. Either way, everything is looking for the Illini football program and the bountiful raid of the football-rich talent that resides on either side of the Mississippi River.