Dakari Johnson’s Mother Breaks Down His Six Schools (UPDATED)

Ever since Dakari Johnson announced earlier this month that he planned to move into the Class of 2013 from 2014, not much as been heard from the 6-foot-10 Montverde (Fla.) Academy big man or his family about his recruiting plans.

But his mother, Makini Campbell, spoke extensively to SNY.tv Tuesday about her son’s plans and the schools he’s considering.

Campbell reiterated that her son plans to sign in the spring period — along with fellow elite players Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon — and that he is considering Florida, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio State and Syracuse — for now.

“Because of the early signing period, we realize some things will kind of change,” Campbell told SNY.tv.

“Some schools will probably not be in the mix because of some players that signed, and also whether or not schools have availability [of scholarships]. We looked at some schools that they tend to have had verbal commitments from players that are very similar to Dakari, so now he’s kind of getting the thought, ‘Well, maybe that’s not really the school that I may want to consider.’ You know what I mean?”

**Kentucky is a major player for Johnson, in part, because he spent three years at Sayre’s Middle School in Lexington, Ky., and the family lived there “for about three, four years,” Campbell said. She confirmed that Kentucky had offered her son “weeks ago.”

“Kentucky is on his list,” Campbell said. “And we’re watching them. Most of the guys who signed there are not players like Dakari.”

Kentucky’s loaded class features guards, wings and forwards like Andrew and Aaron Harrison, James Young, Marcus Lee and Derek Willis, but no center.

“But we also noted you still have Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley-Stein, which is similar to Dakari and so it’s a whole process, looking to see where you’re needed, what’s the best fit,” Campbell said.

She didn’t rule out Johnson joining forces with another big, such as a Noel or a Cauley-Stein, should one or both not go one-and-done.

“That could be good for him in a sense, you know what I mean?” she said. “Just like when he was at St. Pat’s and he had [recent Illinois commit] Austin Colbert. They complemented each other, especially in practice. It’s not that. You just kind of wonder if it’s the same kind of guy like yourself.”

Campbell said it’s also appealing that they have “friends and extended family” in Lexington.

“Actually, last Thanksgiving we spent time with his friends there, with his extended family,” she said. “So for him that is kind of like going back to something that ‘s very familiar and something that is likable.

“As a parent, with you not being there in the same place as your child, you always want, kids always say, ‘I have an aunt there’ or ‘I have an uncle there,’ there’s someone to kind of look after him,” she added. “So that’s comforting for me, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it might be the best fit for him, but I think that will definitely have an appeal for him.”

Kentucky’s record of one-and-dones to the NBA is also appealing.

“I’m sure it’s appealing,” she said. “One thing it says is that they are preparing for the guys for that next stage. I wouldn’t see why that wouldn’t be appealing…What he’s looking for in a school, too, is his development. Academically, he’ll be fine. He understands what he needs to do. He has a family of college graduates. He knows what he wants to study, he has his head on straight there but he does want to know that there’s going to be some development that takes place and that he’s going to play on a stage where he’s going to be recognized.”

**Syracuse has recently landed pledges from 2013 big man Chinonso Obokoh and 2014 forward Chris McCullough. They also have freshman big man DaJuan Coleman and sophomore big Rakeem Christmas, among others, on the roster.

“Well, I’m not clear, there’s a question mark on Syracuse,” Campbell said. “I’m not sure if one, a scholarship is available, two, whether or not, the players that were signed are very similar to Dakari, whether or not he can be an impact [player] there. That’s a question for him. He’s in analyzing stage right now.”

Campbell said she was uncertain if Coleman and/or Christmas might jump to the NBA after this season.

“It’s like if they’re there and the guys that they have signed are there, then it’s kind of like, does it make sense?” she said. “Would he be impactful there? Will there be a need for a player like Dakari?

“You kind of want to go somewhere where you’re needed.”

Still, Campbell pointed out that the family has a strong relationship with Orange assistant Adrian “Red’ Autry, who began recruiting Johnson when Autry was at Virginia Tech and Johnson was in middle school.

“It’s a longstanding relationship so that’s appealing,” she said of Autry.

**Another school that recently landed a 2013 big man is Kansas, which signed Joel Embiid as part of their class.

“One of his good friends, Jojo, who played for him last year, he just to committed to Kansas and so that’s a question mark for him right now,” Campbell said.

Still, she likes how Kansas “runs the ball through their bigs. They’ve been known to have bigs developed. Of course, Danny Manning is not there anymore, but that has been the appeal. And of course Coach [Norm] Roberts was here last year and he moved to Kansas. So he was recruiting Dakari for Florida and then went to Kansas…Of course, their history and tradition speaks for itself.”

**Florida is another option. He attends school in the state and his Montverde teammate, Kasey Hill, is headed to the Gators.

“We did an unofficial at Florida,” she said. “We met Coach [Billy] Donovan. He was probably one of the first coaches to sit us down the first time that they were able to come out and so it was really good because we were able to ask questions and talk about his offense.

“The point guard that he’s playing with this year is on his way to UF. I’m sure that’s appealing to him.”

**Georgetown is another option, and Campbell said her son was especially excited to watch the Hoyas play No. 1 Indiana Tuesday night in the Legends Classic final.

“He’s dying to watch them play Indiana,” she said.

He has also met with Coach John Thompson III.

“He presented his program and Georgetown itself, it speaks for itself,” she said. “Academically it’s a really good school. So their focus was on the big guy and of course they can back that up.”

**Ohio State is also in the mix and has had big men like Jared Sullinger make the NBA.

“Their tradition,” she said. “I spoke to their coaches and so that’s the appeal there. We’re going to explore that a little bit more, know more about that.”

To sum it all up, Campbell said, “I would say it’s even across the board. No one has stood out.”

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13 comments
Jeff E. Guy
Jeff E. Guy

I'm not sold. Good NFL safety? Yeah, sure. Next Ed Reed? I'd need to see a lot more to even consider that possibility. 

frustjetfn
frustjetfn

I agree. The kid has potential, has shown some of it and his playing time was robbed to give to Ed Reed. Develop this kid, Rex.

Mike Caliguiri
Mike Caliguiri

Allen will be a good safety but needs the playing time to improve his coverage skills. At SC he was one of the top play makers and played more of a linebacking role. Given the time to adjust to a traditional safety role and more starting time I think he'd be a top 10 safety.

lagoo
lagoo

I always considered him more of a box safety but he did have better combine results in EVERY drill than haha Clinton Dix or Calvin Pryor

johnnyl65
johnnyl65

I din't know about being the next Ed Reed, Reed has a nose for where the ball is going. Allen though can be a top safety in this league with his freakish athletic ability. Allen is definitely more physical. If we don't land one of the top four Safeties we could do worse than bringing Reed back and mentoring this group of young talented but raw group of Safeties we already have.

jaym
jaym

@mikefreemanNFL: GM tells me Bucs' initial asking price was two No. 1s for Revis. Around the league, they were laughed at.

Bent
Bent moderator

From the article:  "He began last season as the starter opposite Dawan Landry, but saw his playing time decrease when the Jets signed the future first-ballot Hall of Famer Ed Reed, who almost certainly will not be back with the team in 2014."


What the actual...?


This better just be a mal-informed opinion.  I want my Ed Reed back!

Bernard Mclaughlin
Bernard Mclaughlin

@jaym Offer to let them off the hook for the 3rd or 4th rounder they would owe us, and throw in a 4th rounder.  , that's fair to me, then pay Revis no more than $7 million,  he's getting older, he's been injured and his  constant money grubbing attitude is a pain in the Butt. whos gonna give them anything for a player they will be cutting if they can't trade him, cause you know if they want to keep him revis AIN"T renegotiating his contract.


johnnyl65
johnnyl65

@Bent  Bringing Reed back would save us a nice chunk of change that we need to spend on a Corner. There's a lot of upside to it.

lagoo
lagoo

Of course but do we really need him. Ed reed doesn't want to sit on the bench. Qbs qbr throwing in his direction was 118.8 not good.

Vinnie Pedi
Vinnie Pedi

They will keep him, hes so dangerous as a red zone cover safety. When he has limited space his inner professor shows, also in blitzes that force quick passes, any whiff of a mistake and the odds are he'll be there.

Bent
Bent moderator

@lagoo  


He was only directly targeted SEVEN times lowest in the NFL by a mile (and only four as a Jet).  You have to give him credit for all the times he wasn't targeted or was in coverage support.  He gave up six completions all season.


And, of course, he intercepted three passes that he wasn't in direct coverage on.  Suddenly 6-for-10 and three picks puts his contributions into better perspective.

johnnyl65
johnnyl65

@lagoo  You know that's not accurate the guy barely had a practice and we threw him right into a starting role which by the last two games he adjusted nicely and he wouldn't be sitting on the bench he would probably be the starter in the rotation.