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The Jacobe Johnson Chronicles: 2023 Sooners Target Talks Fruit and Family

Mustang High standout recalls his days in Rush Springs and the fun of the annual watermelon festival

On April 30, Mustang High freshman Jacobe Johnson became the youngest in-state skill position player ever to receive an offer from OU. Throughout his recruitment, SI Sooners will have regular interviews with Johnson and consistent updates as the process plays out.

It’s been a week since we first checked in with Jacobe Johnson. Over the course of that week, he’s already received two more Power 5 offers, those coming from Baylor and Nebraska.

Though the gridiron is where Johnson has received the most recruiting attention, he’s by no means zoned in on football. His basketball background is something he’s previously touched on, but this week, Johnson was eager to go into detail about his exploits on the hardwood.

“In sixth grade I started playing competitive AAU,” he said. “From sixth grade to eighth grade, we just dominated everybody. Oklahoma, Kansas area, Dallas area. Then my freshman year, I switched to Team Griffin.”

Team Griffin, operated by former Sooner hoops legend and current NBA star Blake Griffin, is composed of the top AAU basketball talent in Oklahoma. And especially in a small town, it was never a secret that Johnson stood head and shoulders above the rest.

“In Rush Springs, I was averaging like 30 points as a seventh-grader, easy,” said Johnson. “So I moved up to Mustang because it’s a better opportunity for me and for my family.”

It was just before his freshman year of high school that Johnson and his family left tiny Rush Springs, a town of 1,200 people about twenty miles north of Duncan. Johnson looks back with fondness on the childhood memories he made in his hometown, and says it wasn’t easy to leave it all behind.

“It’s a very small town,” Johnson noted. “It was fun. I had a lot of fun. I mean, I had to live that country life. I came up here and it was a whole different deal. I have a lot of friends down there that are day ones, and it was hard to move.”

Every small town has its claim to fame, and Rush Springs’ calling card is its annual watermelon festival, which attracts tens of thousands of people. And as he grew up in the community, Johnson was as enthralled with the summer’s melon craze as you would expect any young boy to be.

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“Every year, I was there,” he recalled. “It’s the best. It’s the funnest thing ever. There’s a carnival, a whole bunch of stands, people selling stuff. It’s a big deal for Rush.”

The allure of the nearby crimson and cream was never lost on Johnson either. Last week, he acknowledged that Oklahoma is his “dream school” and said he “almost started crying” when Lincoln Riley called to extend a scholarship offer. Johnson has indicated that proximity to home is another factor that makes Norman an inviting destination.

“I want to stay close to the family,” he said. “If it’s better for me to stay here and I can be close to the family, then that’s what I’m going to do.”

Johnson is a lifelong Oklahoman, and admittedly a Sooner fan. He resides half an hour from that dream school of his, and it’s as decorated and as prestigious a program as the college football landscape possesses.

So what would it take for another school to steal Johnson from under the Sooners’ nose?

“If they want to compete [with Oklahoma], they’re going to have to offer me a basketball and a football scholarship,” he said.

Is a two-sport collegiate career a legitimate consideration for Johnson? He says that he’ll pursue the possibility, but understands that he may be compelled to choose between football and basketball somewhere down the line.

“I’m going to try and see if I can play both at the collegiate level, but if it comes down to a decision, I’ll do what’s best for the family,” he said.

Sooner Nation is certainly hoping that Johnson dons the crimson and cream to live out whatever it is that he views as best.

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