HAYWARD, Calif. -- Kirk Johnson, a 2015 running back, and Collin Johnson, a 2016 wide receiver, of San Jose (Calif.) Valley Christian are one of the top pairs of brothers preparing for college ball on the West Coast. They made it out to the Oakland Nike Football Training Camp at Chabot College to compete against other top prospects.
SB Nation Recruiting caught up with the brothers after the event to talk about their decision to commit to Texas in April.
The idea of playing together in college didn't come to the Johnson brothers on a whim, but because Kirk had to wait until spring to receive his first offer from Texas, the possibility only recently became real.
"We had a thought about it when we were really little, but we really got serious about it when we talked as a family," Kirk said. "We decided wherever we were going to go, we would play together and our dad played at Texas, so when that popped up, it was definitely the school that stood out."
The offers from Texas happened at a Junior Day on March 1, but the brothers weren't ready to make a decision at that time.
"Right when we got the offer, it was right at the top for both of us and we just wanted to see some other schools," Collin said. "After that, we made the decision about playing together and decided to see Texas one more time and committed."
So when did they know that they wanted to follow in the footsteps of their father, All-American defensive back Johnnie Johnson, and play in burnt orange?
"I would say it was kinda of half and half visiting Texas and seeing other schools," Kirk said. "I mean, that's been my dream school, but the question was, 'Was it right?' So we looked around at Arizona State, USC and a few other places to make sure it was right. After a few trips, we really knew and we went back."
"When we got the offer, it was definitely the top school, but we wanted to see some other schools in the area and see if they were a fit. But then we decided Texas was our school and so we committed," Collin said.
Of course, the connection between Texas and their father played a role in their decision, but there was one other important factor for Kirk.
"I would say for me it was a position to be successful as a freshman," Kirk said. "Of course I have to work for it, but Johnathan Gray is a junior and probably going to the league. If not, I have a mentor, but they're recruiting three backs and so I'll have a good chance of competing to be the starter right away, which is really big for me. Also playing with my brother as well was huge."
Despite all of the built-in recruiting advantages the Longhorns had on the brothers, new head coach Charlie Strong still had to make an impression on them.
"I really like him," Kirk said. "He's serious about his business and he wants hard work. He expects nothing else but that. I really like him and the rest of the new staff as well. Nothing against the old staff, but I really like him."
More on Recruiting
More on Recruiting
In particular, the elder Johnson appreciated the challenge of Strong's high expectations.
"It's always good, because then you're always getting better," Kirk said. "The league is kind of far out there, but it's definitely in my goal book."
After an injury-shortened junior season, Kirk is healthy once again, as evidenced by the SPARQ MVP he won in Oakland, an honor given out to the attendee with the top SPARQ rating. He's apparently ready and eager to turn in a big season before heading to Austin.
"My first goal is definitely to be a big leader for the team on the field and have fun," Kirk said. "Then, personally, I want to break the rushing record at my school and just have a big season."
Collin has two years left in high school, and spent most of his sophomore season blocking for the run-heavy Valley Christian offense. He has adopted a pragmatic approach to that fact, but he was candid while talking about his preferences offensively.
"I mean, to be honest, it's real frustrating, but i can only do my part about it and do what I can control," Collin said. "So I just block my hardest and figure everything will work out for the best and it did. I got offered by a lot of the top schools in the nation and Texas offered and I committed, so it's just about working hard and getting better."
Fortunately, there may be some relief on the horizon from all the blocking for Collin. The Valley Christian offense is hoping to take better advantage of its big junior wideout.
"I should get more opportunities this season and need to take advantages of the ones that I have," Collin said.
The NFTC process is a valuable opportunity for high school prospects to improve while practicing against top competition, but the event was meant perhaps particularly helpful for Collin, given the 6'4, 195-pounder's limited in-season receiving reps.
"Oh, it's great," Collin said. "I can catch a lot of balls out here and the repetitions really help me out. The defensive backs as well -- I'm not used to going against some of the top defensive backs like this, as well. It definitely helps me out and it's great."
So by the time Collin joins his brother at Texas in the summer of 2016, he should be ready to form the same dynamic duo that appears set to dominate opposing defenses in the San Jose area this fall.