"I got to talk to the running backs coach Brian White. That was pretty cool," Johnson said in a telephone interview Sunday night. "Basically just went around, toured the campus and watched them scrimmage. There was a lot of hard hitting going on. That was fun to see."
Johnson took in the day's events with his Brodhead-Juda prep teammate, offensive line prospect Mitchell Lederman, who stands 6-7 ½, 320 pounds.
"The facilities were really nice," Johnson said. "I've went around there before, being at the [summer] camps and everything. It was a good visit."
"That was awesome," he said of his trip to Northern Illinois. "The coach [Joe Novak] was a real nice guy. They have the same kind of turf that Wisconsin does. It's pretty nice to play on obviously. Their facilities are really nice too. Great weight room. I love their stadium, how it is just two-sided… Those are kind of cool stadiums."
Johnson, who previously lived in Rockford, Ill., is familiar with DeKalb, Ill., where NIU is situated, just a short drive east of Rockford.
"I wrestled in DeKalb at tournaments and stuff when I was younger," he said. "So I know the area pretty well."
After visiting three schools in close succession, Johnson said he feels he has a better idea what it will take for him to land a scholarship. Primarily, he hopes to get bigger and stronger this offseason.
"I've already gotten recognized for my junior season but now it is taking that one step further of excelling at a college level," he said.
As for the schools he visited, Johnson came away impressed with all three.
"I'd say Madison has the nicest facilities," Johnson said. "The intensity of the practice, Northwestern was way up there, among the best. They had harder hitting drills. They were more into the practice. And Northern Illinois just had huge lineman. Their O line was probably the biggest that I've seen so far."