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Lafayette High School's Amani Johnson Ready To Prove Himself After Walking On At Ole Miss

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Flippo/Twitter

Wednesday was National Signing Day for college football teams across the country. Fans and coaches alike watched as some of the nation’s highest ranked athletes chose where they would spend their collegiate career. Ole Miss brought in 23 players in their 2017 recruiting class, but one that isn’t listed is out to prove he belongs. 
Lafayette High School’s Amani Johnson became a walk-on for the Rebels on Wednesday and will make the move from Commodore Drive to the University of Mississippi. After a productive senior season playing defensive end and linebacker for the Lafayette Commodores, Johnson finished with 111 total tackles, seven sacks and four forced fumbles. Johnson waited and waited for offers to come as the season went by, but one didn’t come. Johnson recalls being frustrated during the process, but now he will take that feeling with him as motivation. 
“Now that signing day is passed, I’m done with the whole stars issue,” Johnson said. “Every time I scrolled through Twitter it had all these guys getting offers. I would be sitting in my room waiting to see if I was going to get a chance; so I’m thankful for my walk-on offer. I do feel that I have a good bit to prove, but I want to take it one step at a time and make the most of the opportunity I’ve been given.” 
Just a second-year starter, Johnson hadn’t thought much about playing college football as a viable option. After realizing what the future could hold, Johnson’s effort level increased, and he’s ready to embrace his full potential. His effort and dedication were felt by his teammates and coaches on the Commodores’ way to a state championship. 
“Amani’s one of those guys that you never have to worry about his effort. You were going to get everything he had, every Friday night. As coaches, we would say Amani would sacrifice his body to stop an off-tackle power play. That’s what he would do for his teammates,” Lafayette head coach Michael Fair said. “He’s got a high ceiling, and there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s going to make it and make a great football player.” 

A very reserved person, Johnson may be quiet, but that doesn’t mean he can’t give his all until the whistle blows. 
“I’m not a big talker,” Johnson said. “I’m a nice guy on the field. I’ll help someone up and make sure they’re good if they’re hurt, but I’m still going after them as hard as I can in between the whistles.”
Growing up in Lafayette County, Johnson was inspired to lace up his cleats after watching Patrick Willis play for the Rebels. His love for defense only grew as he got older, and now he’s ready to move from the stands to the playing field. 
“I can’t wait to run out of the tunnel, have the whole crowd cheering and really get the full experience as a member of the team,” Johnson said. “I think that I bring a strong work ethic and desire to learn. I’m ready to see the difference from high school. I think it’ll be a big difference since the SEC has most of the best players in the country. I don’t think the transition will be a problem; it’s just up to me and how I handle it.”
Johnson knew that he wanted to stay close to home and mentioned that it would’ve taken a lot to get him to go anywhere else. When the moment finally arrived, Johnson was relieved and is ready for the next step.
“I can’t believe that this day has finally come,” Johnson said. “I’m ready to contribute in any way I possibly can.”

Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at steven.gagliano@hottytoddy.com
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