He grew up in Big Ten country, but Ohio native sold on TCU after Frogs included mom in pitch

TCU head coach Gary Patterson on strength of Big 12

TCU head coach Gary Patterson talks about the strength of the Big 12 at Big 12 Media Days.
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TCU head coach Gary Patterson talks about the strength of the Big 12 at Big 12 Media Days.

Karter Johnson grew up in Big Ten country and could’ve stayed there. The Pickerington, Ohio native had offers from schools such as Michigan State, Nebraska, Minnesota and Indiana.

But something felt right about TCU and Johnson knew it once defensive line coach Zarnell Fitch made a formal offer.

“Coach Fitch didn’t offer just me, he made sure my mom was on the phone as well,” Johnson said. “That was the difference for me.”

Johnson’s mother, Kristina Newman, raised Karter and his younger brother, Elijah, in a single-parent home. It’s a close-knit family – Karter’s first name is spelled with a ‘K’ instead of a ‘C’ because his mom’s name starts with a ‘K’ – and TCU prides itself on being a family-like program.

“She just did a great job of raising me and coach Fitch including her on that meant a lot,” Johnson said.

Johnson is among the more notable commits for TCU’s 2019 class. The 6-foot-3, 315-pounder is a 3-star prospect, according to 247Sports, and was named All-Ohio second-team defense this season.

Johnson is expected to sign on Dec. 19 and join the team this spring. 

The Star-Telegram recently caught up with Johnson:

How would you describe yourself as a defensive tackle? 

I’d tell you that I can take on a double team to get the linebacker free and make a tackle. But there’s no greater feeling than busting through the offensive line and making a tackle for loss. I think it’ll be fun at the next level.

Do you view yourself more as a three-technique (under tackle) or one-technique (nose tackle)? 

I’ll probably be a three-tech. Me and Ross Blacklock will be great on the D-line. Me as a three and him as a one.

Is there anyone you model your game after? 

I’m a big fan of J.J. Watt and his work ethic, but I kind of like doing my own thing in terms of getting to the backfield.

Have you always been a D-lineman? 

I thought I was a quarterback my freshman year [laughs]. You know how that goes, but I didn’t know the importance of football until my sophomore year when I got my first offer. That’s when I realized I had a future in football and this is my ticket. The more you work, the better you’re going to get.

Tell us the story behind your name again? 

It starts with ‘K’ because my mom’s first name does too. She said she didn’t want to be basic. I had a whole bunch of name options, but she really liked Karter because of the TV show ER and Dr. Carter.

Finally, what interests do you have outside of football? 

“I’m more of a movie guy. My brother is a video game guy, he loves Fortnite. But movies are my thing. I’m a big Venom fan, Spider-Man, all the Marvel stuff I like.

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