Growing up playing tackle football, Matt Johnson was a member of the Newton Recreation 49ers.
On Thursday, he once again decided to become a 49er.
Johnson, a 6-foot-3-inch, 215-pound starting quarterback for Maiden, announced that he has verbally agreed to play football for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
The 49ers are starting a brand new football program in the 2013 season. Johnson and other in-coming football players will redshirt in 2012 and enter as the first official football class during the 2013 football season.
Johnson said his decision came down to close interaction with some of the school’s coaching personnel.
“A couple of months ago, I met their quarterback coach, Jeff Mullen.” Johnson said. “I really liked him a lot. I thought he would be a good guy to work under for the next five years.”
The senior signal-caller leads his team with 865 rushing yards, 651 passing yards and has accounted for 14 total touchdowns on offense this season.
During his junior campaign, Johnson rushed for 1,028 yards and 12 touchdowns, while also passing for 1,756 yards and 23 touchdowns. The Blue Devils finished that season 8-4 overall and 5-2 in the CVAC.
Following his junior season, he was awarded as the conference’s player of the year.
On top of playing the quarterback position, Johnson also plays safety and handles punting duties, but he said that the 49ers have recruited him to play quarterback.
Appalachian State, Elon, Duke, East Carolina and N.C. State had also shown interest in Johnson.
When baffled at what school to choose, a trip to see UNC Charlotte helped make up Johnson’s mind.
“When I visited campus on an unofficial visit one afternoon, it was awesome,” Johnson said. “I fell in love with the campus and the school in general. I thought it would be a good fit for me. I knew I would have a lot of opportunities at the school.”
Maiden High School issued a release on Thursday announcing Johnson’s commitment to the 49ers.
“The entire athletic department at Maiden High is very excited for Matt and is glad that he has chosen to keep his talents in the area as he helps UNC-Charlotte start their football program,” according to the release.
Johnson is the son of Chris and Angelika Johnson. He currently holds a weighted 3.8 GPA and is also the North Carolina State Beta Club President. Matt is very active in Varsity Blue, The Beta Club and FCA at Maiden High.
After going through the agony of making such a big decision, Johnson said he is glad it’s finally over.
“It is a definite weight lifted off of my shoulders,” he said. “I’m excited about 2013. I’m ready for the instruction during 2012.”
Johnson takes the field Friday for Maiden (3-4, 2-1) against the Bandys Trojans (6-1, 2-1), whose team colors are ironically the exact same as his future school — UNC-Charlotte.