Sherando’s Johnson signs with Alderson Broaddus

Sherando running back LeeQuan Johnson Jr., center, signs his national letter of intent to play football for Alderson Broaddus College on Wednesday at Chinatown Restaurant in Winchester. Also pictured are Warriors head coach Bill Hall, right, and assistant coach John Minteer. Brad Fauber/Daily

WINCHESTER – When Sherando senior LeeQuan Johnson Jr. visited the campus of Alderson Broaddus University in Philippi, West Virginia several weeks ago, he fell in love with the school. The phone call he received about week later from the school’s football coaching staff sealed the deal.

Johnson learned during that phone call that he was receiving a scholarship to play football for the Battlers in 2015, and the running back made his commitment official on Wednesday afternoon when he signed his national letter of intent to play for the Division II program.

“It’s a great school,” Johnson said during a signing ceremony held at Chinatown Restaurant. ” … I think at the end of the day I just prayed to God, ‘Take me to a school. Lead me to the school where you want me to go.’

“I feel like when I go up there I don’t have anything to worry about. I can do my work. I think it’s a great school.”

Johnson’s full tuition for all four years at Alderson Broaddus will be covered through a combination of athletic and academic scholarships, he said. Johnson added that he’d also received a scholarship offer from U.Va.-Wise and was expecting another from Shepherd University before he committed to the Battlers.

Johnson, who rushed for 1,524 yards and 23 touchdowns during his senior season, said he first came into contact with the Battlers’ coaching staff following the 2014 season.

Johnson, The Northern Virginia Daily’s 2014 Football Offensive Player of the Year, was named the offensive player of the year in the Northwestern District and Conference 21 in 2014.

“The package that they created for him I think speaks volumes about how much they value him in the role that they see him playing,” Warriors head coach Bill Hall said. “I tell all these guys, money often speaks louder than words do in terms of how they value you.”

Alderson Broaddus’ scholarship offer was the final selling point for Johnson in his commitment decision, but it wasn’t the only one. Johnson’s former Sherando teammate, linebacker Daniel Eppard, plays for the Battlers.

Johnson also was swayed by how Alderson Broaddus uses its running backs.

Battlers leading rusher Brandon Jones, a sophomore, carried 285 times for 1,475 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2014. Jones’ 134.1 yards per game were good for 10th nationally in Division II and he topped 30 carries in a game three different times this past fall for Alderson Broaddus.

“I dream about that,” said Johnson, who carried 295 times for Sherando in 2014. “Just thinking about it, that’s what I want. I want stuff like that, games like that. I feel like going to this school that’s what I can get.”

Alderson Broaddus football is still in its infancy stage since restarting the program in 2012 after an absence of nearly 85 years. The Battlers, who play under head coach Dennis Creehan, began playing varsity competition in 2013 and went 7-4 this past fall.

The Battlers are members of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC), although Alderson Broaddus has yet to play a defined conference schedule in football.

“I’m just looking for whatever’s to come. I’m not looking for anything extravagant. I’m just going to play football and get a good education, first off,” said Johnson, who plans to study business management or business administration. “I’m just thankful for all the people that come and support me. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to be able to go and play at the next level.”

Johnson is one of several Sherando players who plan on playing college football next season. All-state defensive lineman Brogan McPartland will play for Harvard this fall, while all-state defensive back Josh Ojo will play at Division II West Liberty. Ojo planned to send his paperwork to West Liberty on Thursday, Hall said.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com