Johnson proves to be dual threat

For the Class of 2010, the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) appears to have two of Maryland's best quarterback prospects: Loyola's Connor Bruns and McDonogh's Rudy Johnson.

Johnson looks to have the size and athleticism to play quarterback in college. The junior is 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds and will enter his third year as the Eagles' starting quarterback.

Johnson fits what might be called the new model of the quarterback position. Not a straight drop-back passer, he has the ability to escape the pocket either to give his receivers time to get open or to pick up yards by running.

"During the offseason I worked out every day with a trainer that trains a couple people from the team," Johnson said. "It gave me a better burst and an extra step and help me get away from defenders. It helped a lot with my speed and I could actually be more of a runner and not just a passer."

As a junior, Johnson threw for 1,838 yards and 15 touchdowns on his way to earning All-State Big School Honorable Mention.

"This year he showed that he could run around, where as a 10th-grader he didn't run," Loyola head coach Brian Abbott said of Johnson. "He's got a great arm, and he really plays in a system that plays to his strengths. You can't let him hit fades on you. If you let him hit fades and deep posts, he's going to chew you up. Now the hard thing is, you're going to have to stop that and with the combination with the way he can run -- it does present problems."

Johnson showed his athleticism over the summer at the 2008 Baltimore Nike Combine -- running a 4.87 40-yard dash and throwing the power ball 35 feet 5 inches. He also had a vertical jump of 28.1 inches.

Johnson runs track in the winter and spring to continue to work on his speed and agility - he competes in the high jump and 4x200 relay. He will also continue work with his trainer and will attend the Nike Baltimore Combine on March 28.

"He's definitely one of the quarterbacks to watch, by far," Abbot said.

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Mike Loveday covers high school sports for ESPNRISE.com. Mike can be reached at Michael.Loveday@espn.com