The start of the 2019 football season is still over six weeks away, but the state-wide recognition has already begun for several of the East St. Louis Flyers.
Ranked as the No. 11 senior safety in the nation, the 6-2, 179-pound Johnson is the No. 3-ranked senior in Illinois behind Lincoln-Way East wide receiver A..J. Henning and Lake Forest defensive end Riley Mills.
Henning is committed to Michigan and Mills will play at Notre Dame.
One of four East St. Louis players ranked in the top 17, Johnson was an all-state selection a year ago when he finished with 81 tackles —53 of them solos — and five interceptions. He also has scholarship offers from Alabama and Georgia, among others.
Other Flyers ranked in the top 17 are defensive tackle Kevon Billingsley, wide receiver Lawaun Powell and offensive lineman Javontez Spraggins.
The 6-4 244-pound Billingsley is ranked the No. 8 senior in Illinois and will play college football for the University of Missouri. Billingsley will be in his first season at East St. Louis after transferring from Lutheran North High School in St. Louis where he played the last three years.
Billingsley had offers from Alabama, Arkansas Michigan, Oklahoma and Georgia, among others.
Powell is ranked as the No. 12 senior in the state. The 6-foot-170-pound wide receiver had 33 catches for 737 yards and nine touchdowns a year ago. Yet to pick a school, Powell has offers from Illinois, Iowa State, Kentucky, Nebraska, Kansas, Purdue and Virginia Tech.
Spraggins is ranked as the No.. 17 senior. The 6-4 343-pound lineman has committed to the University of Tennessee.
Other Flyers listed are No. 70 DaMonta Witherspoon, No. 78 Dylan Appleton and No. 83 Darius Walker. Appleton and Walker are transfers from Althoff where they played a year ago
Witherspoon was on the Belleville East roster as a freshman..
Witherspoon, a 5-8, 205-pound running back has offers from Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Eastern Illinois and Southern Mississippi. Appleton. a 5-9, 170-pound wide receiver has offers from Eastern Illinois, Indiana State and Western Illinois. Walker, a 6-2 210-pound linebacker, has scholarship offers from Eastern Illinois and Illinois State.
The only other local player named on the list was Granite City senior quarterback Freddy Edwards. Committed to Miami (Ohio) University, Edwards is the No.. 27 ranked senior in Illinois.
Edwards accounted for more than 2,700 yards of total offense and had a hand in 31 touchdowns a year ago in leading the Warriors to a 5-5 record and a rare berth i the Class 7A playoffs.