She provided Johnson with her blessing to go anywhere he wanted, but he wasn't sure where that would be.
"I probably didn't know until I picked up the hat," he told ScarletReport.com moments after announcing his decision to attend Rutgers.
At 9:11 a.m., Johnson said he was ready to decide and after a long pause ...said "I'm heading to Rutgers" to thunderous applause at the ceremony at Edward H. White High.
In breaking down why he chose Rutgers over Miami, North Carolina and Louisville, Johnson went back to his familiarity with the coaching staff, and the length of time Rutgers recruited him.
"It was just my relationship with the coaches," Johnson said. "They were the first to offer me, and I've had a strong relationship over the years with them. There were also a lot of (committed players) calling me and talking to me, and that helped."
The 6-foot-4, 285-pound Johnson signed his letter and was set to fax it to the office shortly after his announcement.
He is expected to compete for playing time immediately, although whether he plays guard or tackle still needs to be worked out.
"They talked about guard and and they said I may be able to play tackle," Johnson said. "When I asked coach (Greg) Schiano which position he wanted me to play, he said he didn't say a specific one. He said I could play wherever I did my best."
Johnson, who is the conference champion in wrestling, is looking forward to competing for playing time immediately, which is something that was brought up to him during the recruiting process.
"It kind of helped me a little bit (with the decision), but I didn't base it on my decision," Johnson said. "I had a good relationship with the coaches. That's what was the most important thing was to me."
Johnson acknowledged the last few weeks have been stressful in his recruitment and is relieved to have it over.
"I feels good," he said. "I know I disappointed a lot of people, but I made my decision. I know I made a lot of people happy."