Philadelphia, MS. -
It is a sad day when super-talented ahletes allow public comments on social interenet sites to aid in their decisions over what college to play ball for. It has been reported by the Clarion-Legder and the SPORTSbyBROOKS website that C. J. Johnson, one of the state of Mississippi's best linebackers, has withdrawn his announcement to play for the Mississippi State Bulldogs and vebally committed to the Ole Miss Rebels.
Johnson is ranked the #2 linebacker on the site, the #21 athlete in the nation, and the 4th best player in Mississippi by Rivals.com. His stats are quite impressive at 6'-3", 235 lbs., with a 3.3 GPA out of Philadelphia. He also has a 40 yard dash time of 4.63 seconds, benches 250 lbs., squats 405 lbs., and has a 32" vertical. With tools like that, one may ask....what's the problem?
Well, apparently, Johnson verbally committed to play for Dan Mullen in Starksville. Back in December of 2010, he was quoted as saying, "I am still going to visit Ole Miss and LSU. I want to just take those visits to just visit and my mom said I should take advantage of the opportunity. But I am still going to Mississippi State. It’s just like what my dad told me before he passed away. He said ‘son, the only thing you have in this world is your word’. I am commited to Mississippi State and that's where I am going to school."
The Philadelphia, MS. native was recruited by Bulldog defensive coordinator, Manny Diaz, and assistant coach, Mark Hudspeth. Since then, Diaz has moved on to the same position with the Texas Longhorns to replace Will Muschamp and Hudspeth has accepted the head coaching position with the Louisiana-Lafayette Rajin Cajuns. So, his comfort "zones" were "rezoned" to put it boldly, which may have played a part in the decision.
Then, the first week in the new year of 2011, C.J. gave this quote to the Mobile Press-Register, "It started off that Mark Hudspeth was recruiting me, and he left and went to Louisiana-Lafayette, and then coach Diaz left and went to Texas. So it kind of got me thinking about some things and I don't feel as comfortable as I Did." Thus begins the changing of his tides where the absence of the recruiters were to blame.
With the indecision of where to play looming (though there was a verbal to Mississippi State at that time), his Facebook page lit up with comments of all kinds and types. The one which drew his attention the most was about his mother. He posted this comment in defending her, "This is my last facebook post and I’m gonna leave facebook with this Linda Johnson has never worked as a house worker making 100 000 dollars a year and I will not be a Mississippi state bulldog and I’m not considering Mississippi state anymore bc you have constantly comment on my page send me crazy inboxes and has made my recruiting experience a living nightmare. Goodbye facebook."
He immediatley followed that up with this post, "My decision wasn’t based off of facebook either if it rub any ppl that way ole miss is a better fit for CJ Johnson." Anyway you slice it, it is apparent that this young man did let the comments on FB get to him and affect his whole recruiting experience. His mom was quoted as saying, "I thank God this is my last round. It’s been really crazy this time."
To add to the mix, the Rivals.com website gives credit to brothers Tyrone and Derrick Nix as recruiting C. J. Johnson. Tyrone Nix is the current defensive coordinator for the Rebels and Derrick is his brother, who was on the coaching staff of the Atlanta Falcons not too long ago and is at present the running backs coach for Ole Miss. These former USM Golden Eagle stand-outs are well connected and are noted for their recruiting abilities.
There are some other factors to consider. First, as a FB user myself, I know you have to confirm friends and have the same right not to confirm anyone you do not know. Johnson had over 2,000 friends; how many of them did he really know? Next, no one twists your arm to make you reply to posts that people put on your wall. Also, you can report anyone who posts negative comments on your wall or anywhere in your account. And lastly, you can delete the account and be done with the whole thing.
This was the final step taken by C. J. according to multiple media sources. Unfortunatley, it was a step taken way too late in the overall scheme of things. Simply not responding to negative comments, reporting them, or just deleting the account early on entirely may have saved him, his family, the schools recruiting him, and his fans (if there are any out there) a lot of grief.