By Patrick Creaven Daily Republic
FAIRFIELD - Two red banners, one with the letters UNLV and the other with a giant Bulldog draped behind Michael Johnson and Marcel Jensen at the Rodriguez High library Wednesday afternoon, as they signed their letters of intent to go to college and play football.
Johnson, a versatile and explosive player, is headed to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, while Jensen, who stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 230 pounds, will travel to the Central Valley to play for Fresno State.
'This is one of my favorite days as a coach,' Rodriguez coach David Fishleigh said. 'We are sending two great young men to the next level where they can get a good education and represent their school.'
Johnson and Jensen were both relieved that the process was finally over and excited about their future as college students and football players.
'I'm going to miss my friends here, but I have a lot of good memories,' Johnson said. 'We won a section championship in football and I have also done well with the baseball and basketball teams.'
In his final year at Rodriguez, Johnson helped the Mustangs to a section championship, running for 775 yards, throwing for 1,257 more and scored 15 touchdowns. He also returned a kick and two punts for TDs and intercepted four passes.
Johnson said he is also going to walk-on the UNLV baseball team.
'He is the ultimate athlete,' Fishleigh said. 'He has done things on the football field that I don't think I will ever see a high school athlete do again.'
Johnson said it wasn't a hard decision for him because UNLV showed the most interest and he enjoyed his recruiting visit to the Mountain West Conference school. And it sounds like it won't be long before Johnson starts plays a role for the Rebels on Saturdays.
'They told me that they expect me to return kicks and punts next year,' Johnson said. 'They also want me to battle for the slot receiver position.'
Jensen missed five games last year for the Mustangs, but still made his presence felt with 35 tackles, two sacks and three pass deflections.
'With his size, he is such a disruptive force on defense and makes the other team use multiple players to block him,' Fishleigh said. 'I have no doubt he is going to be a great success at the next level.'
Jensen isn't sure if he is going to play next year or redshirt, but is happy to know where he's going to go to school in the fall.
'This is a big weight off my shoulders,' Jensen said. 'I had Reno, Sacramento State and Fresno State recruiting me, but when I made a trip to Fresno, I knew it was the perfect fit for me.'
Vacaville also had three players sign Wednesday, with running back Terrance Dailey heading to Washington, Josh Kaddu going to Oregon and Johnny Feaster to play college football at Sacramento State.
'The NCAA raised it standards for eligible Division I players this year and I am proud that all of the players easily qualified,' Vacaville coach Mike Papadopoulos said. 'I have no doubt they are going to succeed playing football and most importantly with their academics.'
Solano Community College had offensive lineman Zach Diaz sign with Portland State, and earlier this year, Bobby Guillory (Central Missouri), Daniel Stantz (Texas A&M Commerce), Maurice Dupont (Texas A&M Commerce), Stephen Harris (Arkansas-Monticello), TJ Ross (Sioux City College) and Jared Reding (Sioux City College) all signed to play football at a four-year university.
Reach Patrick Creaven at 425-4646 ext. 266 or firstname.lastname@example.org