The most recent winner of Recruit Georgia’s top play award is Devontae Johnson out of Northgate, and it was truly something special (see Week 11’s Top 10).
With little time left on the clock, the Vikings were down 20-14 against top 10 ranked Langston Hughes. The Panthers had a botched punt, which set up Northgate in great field positioning on the 6 yard line, but after 3 negative plays, they were backed up to the 14, and it was goal to go.
The Vikings needed a play to be made, so they turned to their 6’3″ senior Devontae Johnson. Fellow senior and longtime teammate Kyle McLaren dropped back at quarterback, and released a beautifully lofted fade route towards the right sideline. Johnson went chasing after the ball, squared his shoulders, and then leaped up making a monumental catch over a defensive back to win the game.
Without question the performance by the Northgate squad is one of the most clutch we have seen so far this season. They were down 13 in the 4th quarter, but managed to fight and claw their way back for a tremendous victory against an extremely talented Langston Hughes team.
Johnson’s play is already being referred to as “The Catch” around Northgate, and should echo through the halls for years to come at the school. We caught up with the big man to hear about how the rest of his fall is going, and how the recruiting process is treating him.
“So far, I’m not sure how many schools are interested in me. The process is really just beginning for me.” Johnson continued, “My coaches have talked to some (colleges), but I’ve heard nothing official.”
Johnson prefers to play defensive end, but also likes offense as well. Certainly him making clutch perfectly timed high-pointed catches against one of the best defensive backfields in Georgia will grab more colleges’ attention for the offensive side though.
A lot can go through the mind of a player right after making a catch of that importance, but for Johnson, it brought him back to an old memory. “I felt like I was back in middle school in the championship when I caught another big pass. It was great, I knew I had just won the game for my team!”
Johnson believes his strength’s are being focused during the whole game, coming off the edge fast at defensive end, and with little surprise, his strong hands catching the ball. He said that he wants to go for a visit to West Georgia soon.
Watching his film, Johnson makes his primary impact at the defensive end position. He is a really smart player, reads the QB’s eyes, and shows a lot of hustle making tackles from the backside. He has a really quick first step, plays low and gets a lot of leverage on his opponent. At around 6’3″, and 240-pounds Johnson carries his weight well, and could easily add another 20-30 pounds over the next few years.
This season is not over yet for Northgate, but we asked Johnson to reflect back on the season. “It feels like the football season has gone by too fast. I’m excited for the playoffs and for my team though.”
Northgate made it to the semifinals two years ago, and the class of 2018 played a major role back then. They made the playoffs again last year, but a lot of people (myself included) have been sleeping on the Vikings. Beating a consensus top 10 team in 6-A is a signature win for most high school squads, but Northgate is a veteran group that is hungry for a deep playoff run.