TEMPLE — Four-star wide receiver Quentin Johnston is as hard to catch off the football field as he is when he’s racing past defenders on the gridiron, the track or on the basketball court. Johnston is more concerned with improvement than attention. The 6-4, 192-pound prospect doesn’t use Twitter. Heck, he rarely uses his phone.
“I didn’t grow up playing a bunch of video games. I was a kid who liked to be outside. I have a phone, but I’m not attached to it,” Johnston said. “The college coaches kind of respect it because I have a life.”
Johnston is admittedly single-minded. He’s a football player in the fall, a basketball player in the winter and a track star in the high jump in the spring. Monday was the first day of spring football practice for Temple. A fully dressed-out Johnston was catching balls before practice began. It’s what Temple head coach Scott Stewart respects most about his star wide receiver.
“The difference is that he’s one of the hardest working kids. He’s not satisfied with being the best player on the field,” Stewart said. “He wants to be the best he can be, and he puts in the extra work.”
Stewart attributes some of Johnston’s competitiveness to his multiple-sport exploits. Football players aren’t allowed to play one sport at Temple. Stewart wants players who prefer competition to specialization. Johnston is a walking embodiment of that philosophy. He’s the No. 52-ranked player on the Fabulous 55 and one of just 11 wide receivers to hold an offer from Texas.
“I want the kid on fourth-and-1 that had to shoot a free throw to win a game or was in the batter’s box in the bottom of the seventh. That’s the type of kid I want,” Stewart said. “That competition is the razor’s edge. You can’t train that.”
It’s a trait that Texas identified in former Temple quarterback and current tight end Jared Wiley. The three-star from the 2019 class enrolled early at Texas and went through spring drills, foregoing a chance to play baseball as a senior in order to start his career as a college tight end.
“He had a blast. Talking to coach Herman and coach Warehime, he is exactly what we said. He’s big, he’s fast, and he’s the ultimate competitor. He’s just raw,” said Stewart of Wiley. “This was the first time he was asked to block in his life. He’ll be a football player on Sundays because of his mental makeup. He’ll figure it out. He’ll rather stop breathing than admit he lost. Even when he played tight end here, he went to quarterback drills in practice.”
Johnston watched Wiley go through the recruiting process. He remains in contact with his former quarterback. It’s possible the two reunite in Austin with Johnston stating that the Longhorns are in his top five. He’s yet to take official visits after juggling a busy year lettering in three sports. Johnston does not possess a timetable for a commitment.
“Jared gave me a baseline to start from in recruiting because I picked his brain so much. I went on some visits with him and just watched the process,” Johnston said. “It has to feel like family and feel like home. I also need a bond with the players.”
Nothing fazes Johnston, even phone calls from the likes of Lincoln Riley and Tom Herman.
“I get more excited when I get calls from Tom Herman and Lincoln Riley than he does,” Stewart laughed. “Not because it doesn’t excite him, but because he knows his goals and this is part of reaching those goals. He just goes to work. He loves competing. He’s all-in on whatever sport he’s playing.”
Johnston wasn’t born a football player. He viewed himself as a basketball or track star as a kid. He didn’t play football until he was 7 years old. He didn’t move to wide receiver until middle school.
“It all clicked when I moved to wide receiver,” Johnston said. “I started doing things even I didn’t think I could do. The basketball and track truly helped me become the football player I am now because the skills translate to each sport.”