Former East Ridge DB Kennar Johnson takes winding path to Georgia

When Kennar Johnson, Tereseo Guevara and Mike Weed left Clermont East Ridge High School in 2010, they headed west for California and a little two-year school named Reedley College, just southeast of Fresno.

They did fine, with each earning a starting job during their freshman seasons, but things didn’t work out. Neither player liked the situation and they all three eventually left the school.

Weed transferred to the University of Memphis as a walk-on quarterback, which is where he remains.

Guevara is still trying to latch on somewhere.

Johnson, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound safety, made the biggest strides. He moved on to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College where he played this past season for the Bulldogs, recording 34 tackles in 11 games as a safety.

Georgia coaches noticed, and it didn’t take long for Johnson to commit to the ’Dawgs in November during his official visit. In fact, he committed while he was at head coach Mark Richt’s house.

“I’m excited about it. It’s time for me to move on and get past my junior-college phase,” Johnson said recently from his parents’ home in Clermont. “I’m ready to move on to bigger and better things. I’m excited about that. I’m ready.”

Actually, he’s been ready. He thought he would be strolling around the Athens campus by now, anticipating spring practice as an early enrollee this semester. He was all set. He crammed in 25 credit hours over the regular and summer sessions, graduated in December and then had the admittance door slammed in his face.

“In three semesters I got my associate’s degree, but they wouldn’t allow me to enroll early,” Johnson said. “I had everything set and I was ready to go. All my coaches thought I was coming in and then they seized my transcript and said I can’t enroll yet.”

It’s unclear exactly what the hold-up is with Johnson’s enrollment, but for now he has to wait to arrive in Athens this summer.

He has had a rather topsy-turvy career that started its crazy path when, according to Johnson, he was headed to Miami out of East Ridge High as a senior.

“Coming out of high school I was originally supposed to go to the University of Miami, but when head coach Randy Shannon got fired, everything changed,” he said. “I want to prove it was no mistake I was committed there. I’m going to prove that.”

Leaving Reedley for MGC was a key decision in his progress.

“It helped a lot. That school is probably the best junior college you can go to, recruitment-wise,” Johnson said. “You’re going to get recruited and you’re going to graduate. They are going to get you ready for the next level. For me going to Gulf Coast was best the best thing that could have happened for my career.”

Offers poured in for the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder, who played cornerback mostly at MGC, but will try to fill a big void Georgia will have at safety.

“I had offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Auburn, USF, Iowa State, West Virginia, a lot more … schools all over the place,” he said. “Once I got to a school like Gulf Coast, recruiters came to watch practice and watch me. When they noticed me, they were all like: ‘Where’s this guy been all along?’ “

He had plenty of options from which to choose a college, but Georgia was the best fit, he said.

“It was kinda like Christmas and opening gifts,” Johnson said of all the offers.  “It was like, which one do you open first. But once I got to comparing all the schools it was pretty easy. I’m satisfied with my decision and I’m happy I made decision that I did.”

Coach Richt and assistants Scott Lakatos and Tony Bell stopped in to see Johnson recently at his Clermont home, which helped give him some reassurance that he was still wanted.

“I’m at home just working out every day,” Johnson said. “They came to the house to make sure I’m fine and to make sure I still wanted to go to their school. That comforted me. They were just as mad as I was about me not being able to come in early.”

During his senior year at East Ridge, Johnson had  85 tackles, three interceptions, nine pass breakups and one defensive touchdown.

 

Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at chays@tribune.com. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Sentinel's 2013 Florida Top 100

    Sentinel's 2013 Florida Top 100

    RK247*PLAYER  The Recruiting Buzz 17 Derrick Henry RB  6-2   241 YuleeEnrolled at Alabama, Henry became the nation's all-time career rushing leader this season, surpassing 11,000 yards over his four-year career. The Hornets fell one game shy of reaching the state title game, a feat impossible to...

  • Sentinel's 2013 Palm Beach/Broward Super60

      Stacy Coley, WR, Northeast Broward High  RK PLAYERPOS HT  WTSCHOOLTHE BUZZ 1 Stacy Coley WR 6'0 173 Oakland Park Northeast BrowardMany state recruiting types think Coley is the best player in Florida and also the best wide receiver prospect in the country. His routes are crisp, has tremendous...

  • Sentinel's 2013 North Florida Super60

    Sentinel's 2013 North Florida Super60

      Laremy Tunsil, OT, Lake City Columbia   1 Laremy Tunsil DL   6-5   293 Lake City Columbia Tunsil is regarded as the nation's top offensive line prospect by all the major recruiting services. His frame and athleticism have led to over 40 offers to date. The first team Class 6A all-state in 2011...

  • Sentinel's 2013 Central Florida Super60

    Sentinel's 2013 Central Florida Super60

     (Last updated Jan. 13, 2013)  Keanu Neal, S, Bushnell South Sumter  RK  PLAYER  THE BUZZ   1   Keanu Neal Safety 6-0   204 Bushnell South Sumter  Signed with Florida. KeKe, as he is called, might be the hardest hitter in the state. He's taken charge of a solid South Sumter defense that had a tremendous...

  • Sentinel's 2013 Miami/Dade Super60

    Sentinel's 2013 Miami/Dade Super60

      Matthew Thomas, LB, Miami Booker T. Washington  RK PLAYERPOSHTWTSCHOOL 1 Matthew Thomas LB 6-3 200 Miami Booker T. 2 Jamal Carter S 6-1 190 Miami Southridge 3 Daryl Chestnut RB 5-10 180 Miami Columbus 4 Denver Kirkland OT 6-4 290 Miami Booker T. 5 Stacy Thomas DE 6-2 235 Miami Gulliver Prep 6 Lorenzo...

  • Sentinel's 2013 MidEast Florida Super60

      Tarean Folston, RB, Cocoa High  RKPLAYERPOSSCHOOLHTWTOFFERS 1Tarean Folston RB Cocoa 5-10 195Coach John Wilkinson calls Folston the best RB he's ever coached, although he will be an option QB this year. Folston has more than 30 offers, including Florida, USF, Notre Dame and others. Alabama has...

  • Sentinel's 2013 MidWest Florida Super60

      Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Tampa Wharton   RKPLAYERPOSHTHTWTRECRUITING BUZZ 1 Vernon Hargreaves III DB 5-11 180 Tampa Wharton Hargreaves is considered one of the nation's top cornerback prospects and has received offers but about every major college program. Hargreaves had four interceptions...

  • Orlando Sentinel's 2012 Central Florida Super60

    Orlando Sentinel's 2012 Central Florida Super60

     As is our policy, players who have season-ending injuries will be removed from the rankings and noted here: ⋄ Jones OL Duaron Williams, torn ACL, out for season. Was ranked No. 10.⋄ Dr. Phillips LB Phillip Amone (Signed with BYU), torn ACL, out for season. Was ranked No. 20.  RK Player Pos School...

Comments
Loading