All-purpose back Eric Johnson became UNLV's second mid-year junior college signee today, picking the Rebels over Oregon State.
He said he wasn't sure if Beavers running back Jacquizz Rodgers would return for his senior season, but that he also wanted "to go somewhere and make a name for myself."
"I want to make my own footprints," Johnson said. "I want to help build a program."
Johnson (5 feet 8 inches, 180 pounds) played at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif. He rushed for 717 yards, averaging 6.2 per carry, this season. Johnson also averaged 25 yards on kickoff returns and 10.6 on punt returns.
He was a junior college All-American at Reedley (Calif.) College in 2008, but missed the 2009 season because of a broken collarbone.
Johnson, who reportedly runs the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds, had planned to visit Utah this past weekend, but canceled to go to Arkansas State because his high school quarterback, Ryan Aplin, plays there. He said he also had been talking to Oregon State, and his decision came down to the Beavers and Rebels. Miami and West Virginia each offered Johnson a scholarship as a slot receiver.
Because he signed early, Johnson will be able to enroll in January and participate in spring practices. UNLV also signed quarterback Sean Reilly of Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Calif., early.
The school will not send out a release today, indicating at least one more player will sign early, possibly as soon as Thursday. The NCAA allows only one announcement per signing period.