Arizona wanted to add some size up front along both lines in the 2018 class and on the first day of the early signing period the Wildcats received some good news with junior college defensive tackle PJ Johnson announcing his commitment to the program just days after taking a trip out to Tucson.
Johnson, who checks in at 6-foot-5 and over 315 pounds, chose Arizona over offers from UNLV, Rutgers and Kansas. The one-time Sacramento State defensive lineman ended up leaving his hometown school in favor of junior college at City College of San Francisco with the hopes of landing in a better situation.
Arizona and defensive line coach Vince Amey recently came into play as an option for Johnson and after he hit it off with the UA assistant things moved quickly from there and it led up to his pledge Wednesday. Johnson actually informed the Wildcats of his decision earlier than when he announced it, but the visit and a chance to play in the Pac-12 had him sold.
"I picked Arizona because I could tell that the interest in me was genuine and it was real," Johnson said about his decision. "I met the coaching staff and I vibed with everybody on the coaching staff especially coach (Rich) Rodriguez. We went out to dinner and we ate and I liked our conversation. Coach Amey was with me all the way and I really liked coach (Chris) Singletary. I feel like it was a real family vibe.
"Even with the players and everybody on staff I could tell everybody was a family and I really liked the family vibe. They made sure they took me to the academics and with the academic help I feel I can be the best student I can be and an athlete. I love the strength and conditioning. I like that after practice its mandatory for them to stretch and get in the ice tub. I feel like they're there to take care of the players and make sure the players are good.
"I love the stadium. I love the facilities and I feel like going there I can get the best out of me and it'll open up more opportunities. I know if I play good enough I'll have the potential to go to the league. I'm going to play in one of the best conferences in America."
As of now Johnson will have one year to play at Arizona, but because of a tumor found in his leg earlier in his career he feels he will qualify for a medical hardship waiver to give him an extra year with the Wildcats before his career is over.