By Joseph Santoliquito

PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — There still some lingering sadness in Ron Johnson’s voice over a game that took place over seven months ago. That’s what happens when an undefeated season goes up in smoke in a first-round upset, as it did with Johnson and Camden last November, when the Panthers were surprised, 18-7, by No. 8 seed Collingswood in the first round of the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 2 playoffs last year.

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When football begins in a month, Johnson will be able to place his sole focus on football and getting Camden its first football state title since 1976. That’s because the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Camden defensive end and tight end has given an oral commitment to attend Michigan on a football scholarship, according to CBS Philly and Football Stories Magazine.

“It feels great to know where I’m going, Michigan is a great school and a big reason why I wanted to commit so early is because I can focus just on football and getting us back to where we should have been last year,” said Johnson, who chose Michigan over Penn State, Temple, Rutgers, North Carolina and South Carolina. “Michigan was just a good fit, I thought so, my parents thought so and talking to the players and the coaching staff at Michigan, and they told me I have a chance to play and a better chance to eventually play in the NFL. I’d like to play around 245 this coming season for Camden. I play tight end at Camden, but I’ll play any position Michigan wants me to play.”

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Johnson is projected to be a stand-up outside linebacker at Michigan. But it’s the playoff loss that still motivates him.

“We’re going to do whatever we can to win the state title, because I’ve never won a championship in my life at any level,” Johnson said. “I know Camden hasn’t won a state title since 1976. I want to go out with a bang.”

Camden coach Dwayne Savage could have as many as six Division I recruits on his team this coming season. Johnson’s choice is a big one that’s over.

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“Ron started three years for us,” Savage said. “His dad was a running back for Wisconsin, so Ron already had the work ethic for him to succeed. We started him early because of his size and speed, and his ability to get to the football is something he’s always had. We head into every year with the goal to win the state championship, and we feel we have the talent to do it.”