"He watched my film and came with the big scholarship. I tried to keep my calm, but I was smiling on the inside."
It was a wild Wednesday for Johnson, who also added an offer from Florida State earlier in the day. The attention hasn't been much of a surprise for the Florissant (Mo.) Hazelwood Central standout, but a look from the national champs wasn't quite expected at this point.
"This is the first time I spoke to them really," he admitted. "I came in contact with them early in the week. They said to get on the phone with Nick Saban, so I immediately jumped on. There's nothing like talking to the big boss of the SEC."
The offer matched the size of the big offensive tackle.
"It's huge, it's Alabama," said Johnson. "That's all I need to say!"
Though impressed and happy to hear the news, the 6-foot-7, 320-pounder isn't ready to play favorites just yet. He knows that calculated research goes into every school that pulls the trigger with an offer, even one from the defending national champs.
"You've got to do some research after you get the offer," he explained. "I have to look at academics and all that, though sometimes I do think about committing to a school right now. But it's a big decision, so you have to take some time and think it through."
As far as a timetable, don't expect a commitment any time soon.
"Let's get it done on national signing day. I like it big!" maintained Johnson.
With size as an obvious gateway between discovery and interest, there are plenty of other things that programs have been telling the class of 2014 standout about his game. Alabama broke it down for him as well.
Johnson was named second-team All-State as a junior.
"They watched the film, they liked my strength, my arm length, a little bit about the hips and just the way I play the game," he added.
Most schools project Johnson at tackle, but the Crimson Tide didn't get into all that just yet. The offer is the latest in a growing list of college football heavyweights, and the Johnson camp is hoping it only brings more his way.
"My high school coaches said that once one offers, others will come in," he said. "It's come from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Georgia and others. So now Alabama came in and hopefully that means LSU will as well.
"The SEC is a pretty big conference, anything from the SEC means you're a good player. It means you're a baller."
When it comes to that national signing day decision, Johnson is looking for a few things to help separate one school from the rest.
"I wouldn't say distance is a big factor in the decision, but it is somewhat of a factor within the decision," he admitted. "You have to have academics, that comes first. Your parents don't want to send you somewhere that the academics aren't outstanding.
"I want to major in computers or computer programming."
Before any list is created or whittled down, plenty of visits are to take place.
"In the spring and summer time, I'm going to try to get in as many visits as I can," he said. "I want to do it before the season kicks off since it's my last high school season. I plan to sit down with my parents to talk about some traveling."
While there are tentative plans to visit some Big Ten schools that offered early in the process, there may be a change of plans sooner than later now that the top team in the land is on board.
Said Johnson, "I can't put my phone down at all since ‘Bama has come on the list!"