Coach Tony DeRosa woke up Monday morning and saw that Tejay Johnson had called his cell phone at 1 a.m.
"Uh-oh," DeRosa thought.
Nothing was wrong, though.
The Egg Harbor Township High School football standout wanted his coach to know immediately that Johnson had orally committed to attend Rutgers University on a Division I scholarship. The 6-foot-1, 178-pound Johnson is one of the state's fastest players.
Rutgers coach Greg Schiano cannot comment on Johnson's decision until the player signs a national letter of intent on the first Wednesday in February.
But Johnson said the Scarlet Knights see him as a wide receiver and a possible replacement for senior standout Tim Brown.
"I feel good about my decision," Johnson said Monday night. "I feel like I can be an impact player there."
Johnson made an official visit to Rutgers this weekend. He made his decision after speaking with Schiano from 10 p.m. Sunday until 1 a.m. Monday morning.
"We were just talking about life," Johnson said.
Johnson is one of the state's top prospects. He sparked EHT to an 11-1 record and the Cape-Atlantic League American Conference championship. EHT lost to Cherokee 14-0 in the South Jersey Group IV final on Dec. 5.
Johnson primarily played running back and defensive back. He rushed for 973 yards and 10 touchdowns on 108 carries. He caught 10 passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns. On defense, Johnson intercepted five passes.
Johnson is also a track and field standout. He won the 100-meter dash in 10.67 seconds at last spring's Meet of Champions.
DeRosa said he told Johnson on Friday that he had an inkling the senior would pick Rutgers.
"They (Rutgers) do it right," DeRosa said.
Johnson also visited Nebraska and Cincinnati. Michigan State and Syracuse also offered him scholarships. He was enthusiastic about Cincinnati until coach Brian Kelly left for Notre Dame last week.
'The (Cincinnati) coaches told me they weren't leaving, blah, blah, blah," Johnson said. "Then three weeks later they had a different job."
Johnson said he also chose Rutgers for education. Johnson plans to major in communications. He wants to be a broadcaster.
His decision continues the local ties to Rutgers. St. Joseph graduate and Atlantic City resident Jack Corcoran is a senior fullback. Holy Spirit graduate and Atlantic City resident Marcus Witherspoon is a red-shirt freshman linebacker.
"You don't have to go to California or Florida to play successful (college football)," Johnson said.
Rutgers is 8-4 heading into its game against Central Florida in the St. Petersburg Bowl on Saturday night.
Contact Michael McGarry: