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January 16, 2013- -
AUBURN -- Jeremy Johnson always has loved basketball, but it's clear that football is his future.
His present and past suggest the same.
The Carver-Montgomery quarterback, who committed to Auburn last summer, was named the AHSAA's "Mr. Football" on Wednesday afternoon as the state's top overall football player. He edged athlete ArDarius Stewart, an Alabama commitment, in the closest vote since the award's inception in 1982.
"Mr. Football is something that I'll have on my back for the rest of my life," Johnson said. "Now I've got to go take it to the next level and represent not just myself but my school and my state. It's a big deal for me."
The quarterback finished his senior season with 3,193 yards on 198-of-293 passing with 31 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He added 705 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 105 carries as well.
His ability to throw and run makes him an ideal centerpiece for coach Gus Malzahn's no-huddle, misdirection attack. And that's exactly where he'll be beginning this summer.
Johnson said Wednesday that an official visit to Ole Miss scheduled for this weekend has been canceled. He'd been considering both schools during the past three months.
"I'm through recruiting. Auburn is where I want to be and that's where I'm going," Johnson said. "I'm looking forward to a big year next year."
He's not the only one.
Incumbent starter Jonathan Wallace will be back. Kiehl Frazier, the centerpiece of Auburn's 2011 signing class, will return for his junior season under the head coach whose offensive system shaped his prep career. The Tigers also signed quarterback Nick Marshall out of Garden City (Kan.) Community College earlier this week.
Marshall began his career as a defensive back at Georgia, but spent the past season sharpening his skills under center.
Johnson said Wednesday that he doesn't mind a challenge.
"It doesn't affect me. I'm a competitor; I love to compete," he said. "It's not all about who's coming in. It's just about getting the job done. Things will just go from there."