coach Jason Wilke

Tolleson Union High School football coach Jason Wilke instructs three-star wide receiver Andre Johnson, who committed to playing ball as a Sun Devil in 2019. (West Valley View photo by Tim Sealy)

Three-star wide receiver Andre Johnson from Tolleson Union High School committed to playing ball as a Sun Devil upon graduation in 2019.

Johnson has a style of play ideal for the ASU offense. TUHS football coach Jason Wilke sees similarities between Johnson and well-known ASU wide receivers Jaelen Strong, now an NFL free agent, and N’Keal Harry, formerly of Chandler High School.

“I think both of them are big play, over-the-top of defenders’ type of receivers, and that is Andre’s specialty,” Wilke said.

The 6-foot, 3-inch 185-pound gridiron star still has a year to build on, as well as a 40-yard dash time of 4.57. He can bench 225 pounds.

Johnson is honored to hear those comparisons. It’s understandable, considering Strong was one of the best in the country when he was a Sun Devil and, at this point, N’Keal Harry has a case to be considered the best wide receiver in the nation.

“It feels pretty nice just knowing that the coaches believe in me how they believe in those great receivers,” Johnson said. “It just feels good to know that the coaches trust in me to do my job.”

Wilke added the incoming senior has a few more strengths that caught ASU’s eye.

“His strengths are coachability,” Wilke said. “He’s very humble, and a team-first young man.”

ASU had been making moves to acquire Johnson since March. He attended their passing camps in early June and did well. Wilke knew Charlie Fisher, ASU’s wide receivers coach, was interested as soon as they started evaluating him.

“We knew he was always special, he was always blessed with speed and size,” Wilke said.

However, he does think his big-time receiver needs to work on the fundamentals of route running and catching, because he’s still “raw.” Some believe players who have committed before graduation will go light on high school football. Wilke isn’t worried about that with Johnson.

“I’ve seen a more focused player in the last few weeks,” Wilke said.

Johnson takes his accomplishment as an excuse to not slow up, and even grind harder.

“Knowing I’m going to college and I got my college paid for for football, it helps me to get more motivated and to play harder. (My talent) isn’t based on my size or speed. It’s just based on work ethic and how far I’ve come over the four years I’ve been here.”