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McKenzie’s ‘E-Man’ makes college choice

McKenzie’s Emmanuel Johnson has committed to play for the University of Southern Mississippi following graduation in 2011.

Johnson (5-10, 175), who plays a variety of positions for the Tigers, was recruited heavily by the Golden Eagles, starting in his ninth grade year, he said. He said Southern Miss offered him a scholarship when he was a sophomore.

“I just liked everything about Southern Miss,” said Johnson. “The facilities, the coaches…just everything. I wanted to just go ahead and get this over with so I can concentrate on getting us (McKenzie) a ring.”

Johnson excels at a number of different positions for the Tigers, but was being recruited primarily as a defensive back. He plays running back, quarterback, wide receiver, defensive back and returns kicks and punts.

“He (Johnson) is the first to go Division 1A from McKenzie” said Brown. “So it’s a proud moment for him, his family, our program and our entire community for him to go on to the next level like this.”

Johnson said he notified Southern Miss head coach Larry Fedora of his commitment on Tuesday morning.

“He was really excited,” said Johnson.

Johnson also had offers from Duke, Troy and Tennessee, said McKenzie head coach Miles Brown. The offer from traditional SEC power Tennessee stands out from the smaller programs, but Johnson said he chose Southern Miss because of its proximity to McKenzie.

“I wanted to go someplace close where my family could come watch me play,” he said.

Johnson is Southern Miss’s 11th verbal commitment. Verbal commitments are not binding. On National Signing Day, Feb. 2, 2011, recruits can sign letters of intent to attend the college of their choice.