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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

2021 Notre Dame Signee JoJo Johnson Excited To Reconnect With Marcus Freeman

January 20, 2021

JoJo Johnson‍ initially signed up to play for Marcus Freeman when the 2021 Indiana athlete committed to Cincinnati last May.

“Coach Freeman is cool,” Johnson said of Freeman, who was the Bearcats’ defensive coordinator at the time. “He’s a good coach. He loves his players. He’s very down to earth and easy to talk to. He wants to get to know everyone.”

But as more opportunities came his way during his senior season at Merrillville High School, Johnson backed off that Cincinnati commitment and eventually signed with Notre Dame.

There were no hard feelings between Johnson and Freeman.

“He said he knew it wasn’t personal and to just make the decision that would be better for me and my career and my life,” Johnson explained.

And a month later, Freeman would find himself with a similar situation and he too would choose to leave Cincinnati to become the Irish’s defensive coordinator.

“I’m very excited,” Johnson said following the announcement. “I really like the move because I already have a good relationship with him. I’m sure I’m going to thrive under his coaching.”

Johnson spoke with Freeman on Saturday, the day after the hiring was announced by Notre Dame.

“He talked to me a little bit,” said Johnson. “He was just telling me he’s ready to get to work.

“He was basically saying things happen for a reason and stuff like that.”

Johnson obviously never got the chance to play for Freeman, but has a good feel for how Freeman is as a coach.

“I know he’s very hands on and he’s a good teacher,” said Johnson.

Johnson obviously did get to know Freeman as a recruiter and is convinced he’ll be an asset for Notre Dame in that lane as well.

“He wants to get to know you personally,” said Johnson. “He wants to get to know your family. He wants to build a good bond with you and your family. You can really talk to him about anything other than sports. Like if you have a problem going on, he’ll talk to you about it.

“He’s a good recruiter.”

Johnson is excited to enroll at Notre Dame over the summer and can’t believe how quick the day will arrive.

“It’s kind of surreal.”

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