Johns commits to Alabama

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, January 11, 2005

After a whirlwind weekend at the University of Alabama,Brookhaven quarterback Jimmy Johns has made a verbal commitment tosign a scholarship with the Crimson Tide. The NCAA’s officialsigning date is Feb. 2.

“The campus is beautiful and the athletic facilities aretremendous,” said Johns, recalling his tour of the Tuscaloosacampus. His parents, Charles and Patricia Butler, accompanied himon the weekend visit.

Johns said he has canceled his planned official campus visits toMississippi State, Southern Miss and Ole Miss. He called Statecoach Sylvester Croom Sunday evening on his way home from Alabama.State had been No. 1 on his list of schools.

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“Once I got on campus, I knew Alabama was the place I wanted tobe,” said Johns. “The players I met, I really liked them.”

Johns said Alabama head coach Mike Shula told him he would playquarterback for the Crimson Tide. Some schools had projected Johnsas a running back or linebacker in college.

“Coach Shula is a great fellow,” said Johns. “I really likehim.”

Johns said his parents also were impressed by Alabama’s campusand athletic facilities. “They’ve won 12 nationalchampionships.”

Earlier in the recruiting process, Johns had expressed a desireto play for a potential national champion. Alabama is 10-15 in twoyears under Shula. The Tide finished 6-6 this season, losing toMinnesota in the Music City Bowl.

Alabama star quarterback Brodie Croyle, a sophomore, missed mostof the season due to a knee injury. Johns said he met and talkedwith Croyle during his visit.

“I’m going to play quarterback,” said Johns. “That’s what I wantto do.”

As a senior, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Johns, led the Panthers tothe Class 4A state championship and a 14-1 record. He passed for2,173 yards and rushed for 1,394 yards while accounting for 44touchdowns.

During the 5 state playoff games, Johns didn’t throw aninterception. He also saw some duty at linebacker in the playoffs.His last-minute interception against Clarksdale in the statechampionship game, helped preserve a 29-23 victory.

Brookhaven head football coach Tucker Peavey said Johns told himabout his decision Monday morning. “As a coach I’m happy for him.Jimmy is comfortable in what he decided. I support him if he’shappy with it.”

Johns, recognized as Mr. Football in Mississippi and on TheDAILY LEADER’s All-Lincoln County Team, said he was looking forwardto playing in the Alabama-Mississippi Classic. It will be played onJune 4 in Mobile, Ala. and features the best high school playersfrom the two states.

Johns also excels in track, winning the 4A state championshipsin discus and the high hurdles last May.

Manning To USM

In other recruiting news, Copiah-Lincoln Community Collegedefensive end Shadler Manning has re-signed with Southern Missafter one season at Co-Lin.