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Prep football: MAC schools, Harvard pursuing St. Charles North’s Johnson

Since standardized testing is weighing on St. Charles North tight end Garrett Johnson’s mind these days, here’s a warm-up question.

Which of the following football offers is unlike the other: Ball State, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Harvard? If only they were all that simple.

Johnson, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound tight end who will be a senior for the North Stars in the fall, added a recent overture from Harvard as his fifth college offer. 

While Harvard becomes an intriguing option on the academic front, it’s long been clear that Johnson is viewed as a solid, football fit in the Mid-American Conference, where each of his other four suitors hail from.

“That’s the feeling I get,” Johnson said.

Johnson plans to attend a camp at Northern Illinois today and wondered whether the Huskies could become another MAC possibility. He said he would like to make his decision this summer before senior year rolls around.

Johnson said he scored a 27 on his ACT and is awaiting results on whether he was able to bolster that score, which might dictate how realistic of an option Harvard becomes.

“Right now they’re just telling me there’s a spot on the team for you but you still have to get those scores and stuff before they can guarantee you can make it in to the school,” Johnson said.

Johnson plans to visit Harvard later this month.

In the meantime, he and his teammates are acclimating to the summer camp run by new North football coach Rob Pomazak. Johnson said it’s already apparent that summer camp will be more intense than it has been in the past, a feeling that also applies to the offseason weight room workouts the team has undergone since Pomazak’s hiring.

“Before it was kind of just come and go as you please. … Now it’s get everyone in here who is going to be playing football this year, and we’re going to work all together as a team, and we’re only allowed to wear our schools colors in the weight room every, single day,” Johnson said. “… Everyone’s a lot more committed, I guess, than ever before.”

Johnson said team members are embracing a fresh start that also includes new helmets and uniforms.

Bulldogs ready to ramp up: While many area football teams began their summer program this week, Batavia’s begins next week.

The Bulldogs return several key pieces from last year’s team that ran the table in the regular season for the second straight season before being upset by Downers Grove North in the first round of the 7A playoffs.

As if the lingering sting from that game doesn’t provide enough summer motivation, the Bulldogs have some major challenges to work toward off the bat.

“I believe we’ll be a very good team but we have an exceptional opening two game [nonconference] schedule,” Batavia coach Dennis Piron said. “We start with Glenbard North and then Richards. ... We’re playing two of the best teams in the state of Illinois to start our football season. That’s as tough as I think anyone has to deal with [at the beginning of the season].”

Both of those games will take place at Bulldog Stadium.

“Very cool,” Piron said. “Very exciting.”

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