ESPN 300 athlete Kerryon Johnson (Madison, Ala./Madison Academy) grew up a Florida State fan. His first offer came from the Seminoles more than a year ago, and he watched as fellow Alabama native Jameis Winston led them to a BCS national championship this past season.
But when it came time to make his college decision Tuesday, Johnson opted to stay in-state and gave his verbal commitment to Auburn, the runner-up in that BCS title game.
"Auburn is a great program," Johnson told ESPN.com. "It's really on its way back from where it was a few years ago. Honestly, they got to the national championship last year, so they really are on their way to the top quickly."
Johnson, Auburn's sixth commitment for 2015 and No. 26 overall in the ESPN 300, chose the Tigers over Alabama and Florida State. He said he made his decision three weeks ago after a visit to the Plains.
"I've been to Auburn a couple times, and every time I've been there, there's just a feel to Auburn that it felt like in my household," Johnson said. "It's just the whole community. You're meeting people's parents, grandparents, daughters, children. You're meeting everyone. You just feel that family culture, and you know you can trust that.
"All three programs -- great programs, great academic schools, great weight rooms, all of that -- but that feeling right there is what separated them."
As a junior, Johnson played running back/safety at Madison Academy. He had over 1,500 yards of total offense and 18 touchdowns while also pulling in five interceptions defensively. At Auburn, he's expected to be a running back.
"I just feel like that's what I was born to play," Johnson said this past summer.
The Tigers led the nation in rushing last year, averaging 328 yards per game.
"That offense is designed to get the ball to the playmakers in space," Johnson said. "They do a heck of a job of getting the playmakers involved and giving them the best opportunity to make big plays."
Johnson still plans to take visits to other schools but doesn't expect his commitment to change before signing day.
"I'm not going to be that guy that commits to one school, decommits, commits, decommits," he said. "I feel great at Auburn, and I wouldn't expect that to change."