High School: Brent Whitson


This week, ESPNDallas.com spotlights five of the top quarterbacks returning to Friday night football in 2011.

JARED JOHNSON
School, class: South Grand Prairie, Sr.
2010 Stats: 114-for-215, 1,600 yards, 18 TDs

Johnson is a well-rounded quarterback heading into his senior season.

It’s not all from just on-field experience, but from learning the mental game of football from several offensive coaches in his four years at South Grand Prairie.

[+] EnlargeJared Johnson
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.com Jared Johnson's decision-making abilities set him apart from other talanted high school quarterbacks.
That, in part, has made Johnson a decision maker well beyond his years. It lets new coach Brent Whitson, formerly of Richardson, give Johnson options that many high school quarterbacks wouldn’t have the mental fortitude to handle.

“I’m most excited about, for the first time in years, I’ve got a guy that, from decision-making ability, I’ve got a sound guy – one you can give him choices on every play and know that he’s going to make good decisions,” Whitson said. “That sounds obvious for a quarterback but it’s rare at the high school level.”

Combine that decision-making ability with a live arm and a quick release, and you have a Baylor commit who is confident in his ability to lead South Grand Prairie further than last year's bi-district loss to 5A Division I state finalist Euless Trinity.

Johnson can threaten defenses with the potential to run with speed and power and backs that up with the ability to make all the throws a traditional pocket passer would have in his arsenal. Despite his ability scramble to make a throw or a run, he sits in the pocket very comfortably.

While Johnson’s exposure to several different offensive systems makes him a great recruit, mastering Whitson’s offense could be his biggest challenge this season. Whitson said his connection with his field general hasn’t completely developed yet due to the learning curve Johnson has faced.

“He has to get to the point where he finishes my sentences,” Whitson said.

Johnson will have time to grow into the new offense through a winnable pre-district schedule before cranking it up in a tough district featuring Cedar Hill, Mansfield and Duncanville.

“He’ll get there because he wants to – that’s his biggest challenge,” Whitson said. “Physically, he doesn’t have any [challenges].”

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