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Michael CarvellMichael Carvell

Familiar face is commit No. 13 for UGA, per coach

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A familiar face is commitment No. 13 for UGA’s 2015 class.

Wide receiver Gilbert Johnson of Miami, who signed with UGA this past year but failed to academically qualify, signed with Georgia Prep Sports Academy on Saturday.

WR Gilbert Johnson (left) with Georgia Prep Sports Academy's Mike Carson after signing on Saturday

WR Gilbert Johnson (left) with Georgia Prep Sports Academy’s Mike Carson after signing on Saturday

Both Johnson and his new coach said that he’s still committed to UGA, that he will attend the Atlanta-based prep school this fall to improve his ACT scores, and that he expects enroll in college with the Bulldogs in January as part of the SEC school’s 2015 class.

“Yeah, I’m committed to Georgia, and I’m supposed to go back there in January,” Johnson told the AJC on Saturday. “They want me. I just have to get my ACT score up.

“I think it’s the best school for me. (UGA wide receivers coach Tony) Ball wants me to come in next January. He recommended Georgia Prep Sports Academy to me.”

This is the same type of path followed by another UGA signee at wide receiver, Rico Johnson. He initially signed with the Bulldogs for 2013 and failed to qualify. Johnson spent last season at Georgia Prep Sports Academy, worked on his academics to get one class credit, and enrolled at UGA last May.

“This is a situation where Georgia has placed Gilbert in our program,” Georgia Prep Sports Academy coach Mike Carson said. “We came very highly recommended as the place for him to be. Usually, when a recruiter recommends a prep school to an athlete, they have the intentions coming back in there to signing that kid again when once he gets his academics together.

“I’ve talked to Coach Ball, and they (Georgia) recommended us an option if things didn’t work out. That indicates to me that Georgia feels very confident in what we’re able to do in terms of trying to assist these guys in terms of improving their test scores. I think we’ve established a relationship with Georgia to the point where they feel comfortable about placing kids within our program.”

Gilbert Johnson’s situation is a little different than Rico Johnson’s in that he needs to improve his test score rather than add a class credit.

“He will basically be spending his time prepping for his ACT. Last year, we had 25 guys in our program who were test-score takers, and 23 of the 25 got qualifying test scores on the first attempt. The test program is basically administered through Kaplan on our campus. They do an outstanding job of prepping these guys for the ACT. They break it down to a level where they understand where they know how to prepare for that test.

“I feel very strong that Gilbert Johnson will be able to do the same thing. He already has the core; he’s just short of the test scores. We feel like we can help him get that done.

“And we’ll look at the possibility of him taking a class with the University of Georgia, if that’s what they want him to do. Basically, we’re working hand-in-hand with the academic people at the University of Georgia as it relates to their athletes. So whatever they advise us to with Gilbert academically, we’re definitely prepared to do it.

The 6-foot-2 Johnson was rated as the No. 112 prospect out of Florida last year, and committed to UGA on the spot last summer after earning a camp offer. He will report to Georgia Prep Sports Academy.

“He reminds me of Kelvin Benjamin (the former FSU wide receiver who was drafted in the first round by the Carolina Panthers),” Carson said. “He’s a big kid who goes up and gets the ball the highest point. We’re really excited about having him as part of our program.”

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Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

mcarvell@ajc.com

– By Michael Carvell, AJC’s Recruiting Blog

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