Gateway: Sports

Peninsula High senior lineman Johnson picks up first college offer

Peninsula High School senior lineman Reece Johnson picked up an offer from the University of San Diego.
Peninsula High School senior lineman Reece Johnson picked up an offer from the University of San Diego. Staff photographer

Peninsula High School senior offensive and defensive lineman Reece Johnson picked up his first college offer last week, from the University of San Diego.

One of the coaches came by in the spring and met Johnson and came away impressed.

“They kept in contact and really liked my film both ways, on offense and defense,” Johnson said.

Johnson plays right tackle on offense and defensive end and defensive tackle on the defensive side. As for which side he’ll play on in college, Johnson isn’t sure.

“I’ve been told by the guys I train with (that I project as) either a defensive tackle or a guard or center,” he said. “Whatever the coaches want.”

Peninsula coach Ross Filkins isn’t sure what side the 6-foot-3, 270 pounder will end up on, either.

“It’s interesting ... it’s hard to say,” Filkins said. “Some of the other schools feel stronger one way or another. It’s difficult to project with Reece. He’s changing so quickly. His best football is totally still ahead of him. Some kids are pretty well developed. You see the unique things they bring and offer to a team. With Reece, it’s still difficult to gauge what his best position is going to be.”

Filkins has faith Johnson will be successful wherever he ends up due to his athleticism and work ethic, on and off the field.

“He’s an excellent athlete,” Filkins said. “He came to us as a really good basketball player. His physical development — he’s evolving quickly. He’s a solid, strong 6-3 and moves very well. He’s a smart player. There’s a lot of upside there and a lot of interest there. He’s an excellent student as well. An offer from an academic university is a great achievement.”

Johnson said he’s generated interest from Wyoming, Eastern Washington, Portland State and San Diego State as well. He was happy to nail down his first offer from USD.

“I think it’s a great campus — great campus life,” he said. “Everything is really close together. It’s just a great place.”

USD plays in the Pioneer Football League, which operates in the East, Midwest and California. The conference participates in the FCS division as a football-only conference. Most of the PFL’s members are private schools.

The Toreros finished last season with a 9-3 overall record.

Johnson will be blocking for a new backfield this year, with quarterback Robert Kvinsland and starting running back Major Ali gone to graduation. Junior Ryder Johnson is the favorite to land the starting quarterback job.

“Over the summer and since spring, it’s picked up a lot better,” Johnson said. “All the blocking is getting down, it’s just coming together really well. This year, it’s a little different. We have more options, a little more mobile QB. Running back wise, we have a few power backs — not quite the same as Major. Our ability to run outside will be a lot better this year.”

Johnson said the goals remain the same: Win league and make a run in the playoffs.

“I expect the same things this year, to make it just as far,” he said. “The bonds we created in camps will propel through our league and playoffs this year. We want to get to the (Tacoma) Dome, win Fish Bowl and have a successful year.”

Jon Manley: 253-358-4151