Hart quarterback commits to Cal

Hart quarterback Zach Johnson (16) passes incomplete into the end zone against West Ranch at College of the Canyons on Friday, October 19, 2018. (Photo by Dan Watson)

Hart quarterback Zach Johnson announced his commitment to the University of California, Berkeley on Monday afternoon, and he’ll admit it was a little early. But it was just part of a plan.

“It was everything I was looking for and more and I thought it was the right time to commit early,” Johnson said. “I always planned on making the decision before the season started. I felt that it was the right time, I felt it was the right school for me, the best fit, so I feel like the decision was ready to be made.”

Johnson, who will be a senior in the upcoming football season, visited Cal’s campus over the weekend after originally announcing he received an offer from the school on May 10. He met with offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin, who he had spoken with prior to the visit, and head coach Justin Wilcox and felt that he fit well in the plans for the Golden Bears’ offense.

Academics played a major role in Johnson’s decision as well. He said that he met with academic advisors at the campus, which only made Cal’s academic prestigiousness more appealing to him.

By Sunday, Johnson had made a decision and on Monday, he called Baldwin and Wilcox to confirm it.

“Yesterday on the visit I told them I was ready to commit and they were super pumped and super excited about it, they told me to sleep on it and make sure it’s the decision I want,” he said. “After that conversation, I told him I want to go ahead and commit, I feel like this is the right place for me and he was super excited and I told coach Wilcox and confirmed that again this morning.”

The 6-foot-1 quarterback had a junior campaign that included 2,892 passing yards and 30 touchdowns. He was 219-for-357 passing and additionally rushed 107 times for 347 yards and four touchdowns.

He’s a three-star prospect, according to 247sports.com, and had an offer from William & Mary in addition to the offer from Cal. He’s also been working with quarterback coach Dean Herrington since he was seven years old.

Johnson is the latest in Hart football’s quarterback lineage. Former Indians signal-caller JT Shrout, who was originally a Cal commit before decommitting, will be entering his sophomore year at Tennessee. The quarterback before him, Nick Moore, is at Oregon State University.

“It’s definitely an honor. We’ve had so many great quarterbacks go through Hart,” Johnson said. “You can reel off the names and it’s just really a blessing and I’m really thankful that I can just keep that legacy going and be another one of those guys who was able to go on and play Division 1 football. It’s an honor and I’m thankful for the opportunity.”

As for the 2019 prep football season, Johnson has a plan for that, too. He’s one of multiple returners on the Indians’ roster this season that is focused on winning a CIF title after finishing third in the Foothill League last year.

“I’m really trying to get another CIF championship,” Johnson said. “I feel like we have a lot of good pieces this year, some returning guys, some new guys, and from here on out I’m trying to get with those guys and play our butts off and see if we can get a ring.”

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