Dezaria Johnson's Journey to being a Highly Recruited 2024 Elite Prospect - Does She Have a Top 5?
Class of 2024
Right Handed Pitcher
Where do I start leading up to this moment I’ve dreamed of since I was 8 years old?
I guess I’ll start from the beginning of where it all started at the Turner Lake Sports Complex in Covington, GA. I remember hitting multiple homeruns in 8u recreational ball and being told by my Coach Brian Digby that I would go very far in this game. But what 8-year-old could possibly truly process what he meant?
I then joined my very first travel team and immediately became a key factor. I joined Georgia Rage coached by Coach Brian and that’s when I truly developed the love for the game, the tournaments every weekend, and the amazing friendships that I will cherish for a lifetime!
I was older than the others on my team so I would then have to move on and find a new team. I started playing for GA Mayhem out of Conyers, GA in 12u and that is where my young softball career took its big launch. I was hitting absolute bombs and led my team at the plate, excelling in all offensive categories!
I eventually fell in love with pitching by watching my idol Paige Parker and I knew in that very moment the excitement and the fight she had in that very moment pitching. I just had to know what that feeling was like! I then went on to tell my mom and brother I wanted to pitch, and I started watching Amanda Scarborough on YouTube and pitching to my brother every day to prove to them I really wanted to pitch.
I then started to train with Brittany Shepherd to become a legitimate pitcher. After my first pitch thrown in my first lesson, Coach Brittany told me that I could write my ticket to any school I wanted to attend if I kept up the work! I was then told by Coach Chad Davis that he had never seen a kid with so much power and I could achieve my goal of playing at the next level. He invested so much of his self into my career and still to this day he’s one of my rocks.
To get to the grit of it all I went to a camp being ran by Coach Tammy Vermeulen. She had several Power 5 schools in attendance, and I loved seeing a lot of the programs I admired. Soon after, Coach Tammy reached out to recruit me, but I turned the offer down as I didn’t feel as if I was ready yet. Who would have known or predicted that many years later we would cross paths again after my new pitching coach Megan Betsa would get us in contact with each other?
From that day forward my career was taking to a different level. The grind got harder, and the lessons got harder, pushing me to be the pitcher and batter I am today.
After a long talk with Georgia Tech’s Felicia Coursey and she telling me I belonged at the top level. I accepted my offer to be a part of the newly formed organization, D1VISION. This move was the best move I could’ve ever made as it put me on the map, and I was being recruited by several Top 25 programs and mid majors. I was clocked at 67 mph by a Top 25 Power 5 school and from that day forward the backstop was crowded with radars and cameras from schools like Ole Miss, North Carolina, Clemson, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Tennessee State, Duke, and many more! I remember coaches I could have never imagined asking me to be put in the game!
I played for Lady Dukes for a moment and the girls are my forever friends/sisters. I’m back home now with D1VISION, where Coach Tammy helped prepare my mind 2 days before September 1st. She knew that this was going to be an amazing experience for me and the feeling of a 6-year-old waiting up for Santa is what I experienced when at 12 AM I received a message from one of my dream schools.
What made it all so real is when the University of North Carolina (UNC) contacted me exactly at 12 AM. I felt as if my work was not in vain, and it was truly paying off! I was contacted from schools from the Big Ten Conference (Big 10) and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and more. UNC stood out the most to me because of the love I have for Coach Papa and Coach Dobbins. They made me feel so at home every time I was on campus! The phone conversation between me and Coach Dobbins was nothing short of amazing! Her words to me were something to the effect of, you stood out to me the most in the class of 2024 and my peers.
I wouldn’t say I have a Top 5 yet but I do know I have one program in particular that is weighing on my heart heavy and that’s UNC. I will be going on a visit soon at the end of this month. I don’t want to give out all the schools that’s recruiting me just yet but let’s just say the ACC is in a battle!
My village is so excited for me. Most of all, my amazing pitching coach (Coach Lacey) is preparing me and my body to be the best I can be! I don’t know when I will commit yet I’m enjoying the ride. My three aspects I’m looking for in a program is strong faith, diversity, and a competitive roster!
My prayer is that at the end of it all I will end up where God sees fit for me and I will help lead that program to a National Championship!