Sooners keep 4-star athlete Jacobe Johnson in Oklahoma

By Michael Kinney

Jacobe Johnson is often the center of attention. Whether it’s on the football field or the basketball court, all eyes tend to be focused on him.

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However, on Saturday Johnson found himself in the uncomfortable position of having the spotlight directed solely on the Mustang (Ok.) senior during his team’s intra-squad scrimmage. Even though the 4-star cornerback/wide receiver didn’t play a single snap, he had everyone’s attention in the stadium as he prepared to make his much-anticipated announcement of where he planned to play college football when his prep career ended.

After months of deliberation, the 6-foot-3, 170-pound Johnson chose to stay near home and attend the University of Oklahoma.

“Every time I went there, it just got better and better,” Johnson said. “I just love what they are doing there. The program is getting better and better. I like where they are going and I want to be part of it.”

Johnson brought a little style and excitement to his announcement ceremony. A video was played on the stadium’s jumbotron in which he thanked everyone from his family and teammates to the coaches who took the time to recruit him. 

As the video ended, surrounded by his family, Johnson walked out of the Bronco’s tunnel in the endzone wearing a black Mustang jersey and a maroon Oklahoma ball cap as the Boomer Sooner fight song played over the loudspeaker.  

“It was awesome. Special,” Mustang coach Bill Blankenship said. “I had tears in my eyes during that part. It couldn’t be any better because he’s just such a good kid. It couldn’t have been any more special.”

Photos by Michael Kinney

Before the festivities ended, Johnson was mobbed by hundreds of youth football players who were in attendance. He then took the time to hand out high fives to seemingly each of them before leaving the field.

“It’s cool, especially for somebody like me,” Johnson said. “My personality is more quiet. So, something like this is out of my comfort zone. But at the same time, it’s one of the coolest things I have ever done in my life.”

The manner in which Johnson made his commitment showed what separates him from most elite prep athletes, according to Blankenship. There was no gimmicks or tricks, just an unveiling.

“You see a lot of guys put the hats on the table and it’s all about them,” Blankenship said. “But Jacobe made it about this community and he made it about his teammates and he made it about the youth league. And just that example to let those little guys look at him and go, ‘Hey, that could be me one day.’ That’s big time. A really cool moment for our program and the Johnson’s specifically.”

As a junior, Johnson led the Broncos in receiving with 42 catches, 1,016 yards and 12 touchdowns. Defensively, he had 32 tackles and one interception.

Johnson narrowed his choices down to five programs more than a week ago. Along with Oklahoma, they included Oklahoma State, Michigan, Stanford and Alabama.

Johnson, who is the seventh-ranked athlete in the 2023 class, did his due diligence and visited each school with his family. But in the end, he said the decision was easy for him after getting to know first-year head coach Brent Venables.

“I say we have one of the best relationships I have had with any of the coaches I talked to,” Johnson said. “We talk on a daily basis. He sends me quotes and videos of him working out. You know coach Venables, he’s crazy. That’s what I love about him. His energy is different than anybody else.”

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