In a winding road that once had Noel Johnson headed to USC, the four-star guard will now play his college ball at Clemson. After getting out of his letter of intent to the Trojans when Tim Floyd was fired, the nation's No. 53 prospect re-opened his recruitment and Friday evening selected Clemson, notifying the Tiger coaching staff shortly after 6 p.m.
"I just got off the phone with coach (Oliver) Purnell and he was real happy," Johnson told Tigerillustrated.com Friday. "I chose Clemson for the academics of course, just the way coach Purnell is and also their winning tradition and playing in the ACC."
The nation's No. 11 small forward in the class of 2009, according to Rivals.com, will sign this weekend and enroll on June 28th.
"They are getting a player similar to KC Rivers and Terrence Oglesby to fill what they left," the Fayetteville (GA) Fayette County standout said. "I'm able to shoot the ball well, distribute well and overall help the team."
His ability to play multiple positions helps.
"My strongpoint probably is my versatility," the Peach State product admitted. "I can play the one, the two and the three and most of all, help on the defensive end."
Johnson was granted a release from his letter of intent with USC after asking for the release because of the controversy swirling around the program last month. He took his final four official visits to Charlotte, UNLV, Florida International and LSU and unofficially visited Clemson on Thursday.
"Overall the campus was super," he noted. "I heard about it from my teammates that played there in a summer league, but I got to see it for myself and loved it, too. I like how coach Purnell is well-mannered and cares about each of his players, too."
The touted prospect chose the Clemson program over runner-up LSU, UNLV, and Florida International.
Getting to know the staff - assistants Josh Postorino, Mike Morrell, Frank Smith and Ron Bradley - helped as well.
"We sat down at lunch yesterday and had fun," the shooting guard shared. "I got a good feel for all of them and they are good guys."
Johnson averaged 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists per game as a senior.
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