Glenn Carson might not be the only local starting for the Penn State football team’s defense this season.
Carson, a Southern Regional High School graduate, will start at linebacker for a third year in a row. He could be joined by redshirt freshman Austin Johnson, a St. Augustine Prep graduate, according to Pennlive.com.
Dustin Hockensmith of Pennlive.com quotes Penn State coach Bill O’Brien as saying: “We think (Johnson) has a chance to be really, really good player and hopefully sooner rather than later, but he's had a really good off season and comes from a great family. He's just a really good kid and we are really glad that he's on our football team. We think that he can have a bright future.”
Hockensmith writes that Johnson has flown under the radar because he played basketball in high school rather than concentrating entirely on football and attending camps in the offseason.
Indeed, the 6-foot-4 Johnson averaged 10.9 points per game for St. Augustine as a senior in 2011-12, earning second-team Press All-Star honors. Basketball runs in his family - his younger sister, Kennedy, this year averaged 19.4 points in leading Sacred Heart High School to the South Jersey Non-Public B semifinals.
Hockensmith calls Johnson “an ideal fit along the defensive line, where position coach Larry Johnson has a history of turning raw talents into NFL prospects.”
The writer compares Austin Johnson to two other raw talents who flourished under Larry Johnson’s guidance. One was Tamba Hali, who has become a three-time Pro Bowler in the NFL. The other? Fellow St. Augustine graduate Jack Crawford, who recently finished his rookie season with the Oakland Raiders.
And while Johnson will only have one season to play alongside Carson, a senior, he likely will have more company the following season: Oakcrest linebacker Brandon Bell arrives in Happy Valley this summer.