During a week when several Stanislaus District athletes realized their dream, signing letters of intent in front of family and friends, the spotlight was stolen for a bit by the area's next big football star.
Sophomore offensive lineman Everett Johnson has verbally committed to Cal, fulfilling a dream he's had since he visited the campus the summer before his freshman year. Johnson is a 6-foot-8, 290-pound tackle at Turlock High, which won its second straight Central California Conference championship this past fall, and the first member of Cal's 2020 signing class.
Johnson was introduced to the Cal coaching staff at a skills camp last summer. He announced his allegiance to the Bears Monday on Twitter, but still holds offers from San Jose State and Fresno State, which is coached by Cal's former coach, Jeff Tedford.
"I'm extremely excited to announce that I have received an offer and committed to the University of California Berkeley to continue my football career after high school," Johnson tweeted. "Thank you all for your support and #GoBears!!"
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Verbal commitments are non-binding, but moving Johnson off his pick may be difficult.
Johnson fell in love with the campus as a soon-to-be freshman, when he toured the athletic facilities with his father. In all, Johnson has visited the campus three times in the last two years, including this past fall when he watched the Bears battle Washington State.
Johnson told 247sports.com's Ryan Gorcey that he has watched closely Bears right tackle Jake Curhan, who was the first member of Cal's 2016 signing class.
"Going on the field, looking up in the stands and seeing the atmosphere there, I knew then, as soon as they offered me, that I wanted to commit," Johnson told 247sports.com.
Turlock coach James Peterson was contacted by Cal coaches earlier this week. Peterson said the coaches encouraged Johnson to play multiple sports, including basketball. Johnson is averaging 6.5 points and 5.6 rebounds for the Bulldogs, who entered Wednesday's game against Merced at 6-3, a half game ahead of Golden Valley and rival Pitman for second in the CCC.
"Cal was impressed with his size and athleticism," Peterson said. "He moves his feet well for a 290-pound sophomore."
Peterson says Johnson ranks among the best prospects he's ever coached. His name, Peterson added, belongs in the conversation with two-time CCC MVP Danny Velasquez, the starting quarterback at Modesto Junior College, and defensive lineman Mustafa Noel-Johnson, now on scholarship at Colorado.
Johnson is a foundational piece as the Bulldogs prepare to launch into the newly formed Central California Athletic League, which features rival Pitman, Downey, Enochs, Gregori and Modesto.
"I'm really looking forward to working with him after the basketball season is over," Peterson said. "I know he's going to continue to work hard to get better and better."