East St. Louis’ 5-star recruit Antonio Johnson makes his college choice

East St. Louis Flyers’ standout Antonio Johnson, one of the top high school safeties in the nation, gave a verbal commitment Saturday to play college football at Texas A&M University beginning in the 2020 season.

Ranked as the No. 5 high school safety by and No. 9 by 247 Sports, the 6-3, 185-pound Johnson announced his decision following the Flyers’ 53-0 win over Belleville West on Saturday.

“Why Texas A&M? Man, when I went down there that that was it,” Johnson said. “Everything about the place, I just really fell in love with it.”

Johnson entered the game Saturday with 28 tackles this season, including 17 solos.

East St. Louis (4-0, 1-0) is ranked first in the Associated Press Class 5A State poll.

A three-year and a premiere two-way player for coach Darren Sunkett’s Flyers, Johnson chose Texas A&M over Alabama and Tennessee. Johnson originally committed to Tennessee in June, then decommitted from the Volunteers on July 28.

Both Tennessee and Texas A & M are members of the Southeastern Conference.

“There is something to be said for playing in the SEC. In college football, it’s as good as it gets,” Johnson said. “Right now, though, I’m just concentrating on finishing out my senior year here at East St. Louis. Our goal is to win the state championship.

“Playing here at East St. Louis I feel has helped me prepare for what I’ll see in college football. The (defensive) schemes we run here are pretty close to what they run at the college level.”

In addition to Texas A&M, Alabama and Tennessee, Johnson also had scholarship offers from several other schools including, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri.

Coached by Jimbo Fisher, the Aggies (2-1) are currently ranked 17th in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and are hosting No. 8 Auburn Saturday in a Southeastern Conference game.

Johnson is the third member of the 2019 Flyers to commit to a major NCAA Division I program. Senior offensive guard Javontez Spraggins committed to Tennessee and defensive lineman Kevon Billingsley committed to Missouri.