CHEYENNE – Andrew Johnson didn’t hesitate to accept the scholarship University of Wyoming football coach Craig Bohl offered him over the phone Wednesday night.
The Cheyenne Central senior has dreamed of playing for the Cowboys since he was a little boy sitting in the stands at War Memorial Stadium.
However, Johnson waited until Saturday morning to announce his verbal commitment to UW.
“As soon as I got the offer, I knew it was the best possible choice for me and all I could ever dream of,” Johnson said. “We decided it was best to keep everyone focused on that big game with (Cheyenne) East we had coming up and wait until this weekend to announce it.”
The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder has been a standout on both sides of the football for the Indians. He earned All-Class 4A honors as a wide receiver and defensive back last fall, and was the only Wyoming player named to Sports Illustrated’s All-American watch list over the summer.
UW has recruited Johnson to play safety.
Former Cowboys safeties Marcus Epps, Tashaun Gipson and Andrew Wingard have started games for their respective NFL teams this season. Epps and Wingard both played for Bohl’s staff. Although there is a long way to go before Johnson can start thinking about the NFL, UW’s success with safeties was appealing.
“They’re bringing kids in and developing them into successful players at every level,” Johnson said. “The coaches are going to put me in the best position to be successful.”
Entering Friday night’s game with East, Johnson had posted 106 career tackles, 10 interceptions, 19 pass breakups and three blocked kicks. He has primarily played cornerback during his Central career, but recently transitioned to safety.
“We moved him because we needed our best athlete in the middle of the field to roam around and maybe cover some other things up,” Indians coach Mike Apodaca said. “We thought putting him on one side of the field was limiting what he could do for us. His skills are very transferable to safety.”
“As he gets more ingrained into that position, he has the chance to be a very good safety.”
As a receiver, Johnson has gained 1,833 yards and scored 22 touchdowns. He also has been a standout in other arenas. Johnson was a first team all-state outfielder for Cheyenne American Legion Post 6, placed fourth in the 170-pound weight class at the state wrestling tournament as a sophomore, and was second in the 55-meter dash at the state indoor track meet his junior year.
Johnson had also garnered college interest in baseball.
“I hadn’t completely shut down the idea of playing college baseball, but football was always my priority,” said Johnson, who plans to study biology in Laramie.
As good as Johnson has been in high school, Apodaca thinks he still has untapped potential.
“He is an explosive athlete that is as dedicated to the game of football as you can ask from someone at our level,” the coach said. “I don’t think the story has been written on him. He has a big upside as he gets to develop as a single-sport athlete.”
Johnson is the Cowboys’ sixth known commitment for the 2021 signing class. He is the fourth defensive commitment, and the first from Wyoming.