When it came time to make a decision on where he would play college football, Pelahatchie (Mississippi) linebacker Ahmad Johnson had one requirement at the top of his list.

The opportunity to get early playing time.

It was so important to Johnson that on the same day he received a scholarship offer from the University of Tennessee, he decided to verbally commit to UL.

Without setting foot on campus.

"Louisiana has been recruiting me since May of 2018," said Johnson, who is listed as the No. 29 player in Mississippi by Rivals.

"My decision to commit was based on it being my best fit because I want to play as a true freshman. Tennessee, being a bigger school, would have probably redshirted me or given me no chance at early playing time."

UL assistant offensive line coach D.J. Looney recruited Johnson.

"I was on FaceTime with (Looney), and he asked if I was ready to commit," Johnson said. "I told him, '100%.' He said they only had three scholarships left, and now they have two.

"Coach Looney and I have a tight relationship. Ever since they started recruiting me, they've kept in touch. They also came and watched me play a couple of times."

Although Johnson is projected as an inside linebacker by recruiting sites, the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder says he currently spends more time on the outside.

"I'm a ballhawk," he said. "I like to blitz off the edge. You could say I play rover. I've played safety two weeks in a row."

Johnson's high school team plays on the Class 2A level in Mississippi. The Indians are 9-2 heading into a first-round playoff game versus Leland.

"I think we can do it," said Johnson of his team's chances to make a run to the state finals. "It's been an amazing season. One team, one goal.

"I've been playing more offense than defense. I play running back, quarterback and some slot receiver. We run the pistol and the I-formation. I recently broke the 2,000-yard rushing mark, and I have 38 touchdowns. I like playing defense better, though. I like giving the hit. I don't like getting hit."

In a 49-37 win over Jackson Academy, Johnson rushed for 424 yards and five touchdowns on 24 carries and also threw a 16-yard TD pass.

Listed as UL's 17th commitment for the class of 2020, he plans to visit Lafayette in two weeks.

When asked for any final thoughts, Johnson echoed UL coach Billy Napier's favorite Twitter comment.

"I just want to say, 'hashtag culture,'" he said, referring to UL's social media catchphrase "#cULture."