SANTA CLARA -- Dontae Johnson had the chance four years ago to play for Jim Harbaugh and he declined.
Now, he has no choice in the matter.
As a New Jersey prep star, Johnson turned down Harbaugh’s scholarship offer to Stanford. As coach of the 49ers, Harbaugh will get a chance to have Johnson on his team, as the 49ers selected the North Carolina State cornerback in the fourth round with the No. 129 overall pick.
[RELATED: 49ers draft CB Johnson]
“Honestly, it was too far,” Johson said Saturday morning. “I wanted to stay close to home. That was the main reason. Great school, great program, great football, everything. I just wanted to stay a little closer to home.
“Now, I guess I’ll have to be making that trip since I turned it down the first time, which is pretty cool to come back out to California.”
Johnson said he reconnected with Harbaugh at the NFL Scouting Combine. Of course, the conversation's opening topic was Johnson’s decision to turn down a Stanford education.
“We talked about it a little bit at our formal meeting at the Combine, and then we got right into football and everything I can do to help the program,” Johnson said.
Johnson graduated in December from NC State with a double major in sports management and business administration.
On the field, Johnson is the kind of long cornerback that is now en vogue in the NFL, thanks to the likes of Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. Johnson is 6-foot-2 with a 31 1/2-inch arms. He ran a 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the Combine.
“I felt a lot of teams looking at me as a press corner due to my length and my speed, which was proven at the Combine,” he said. “I think a lot of teams were looking at me to be that physical corner.
“I’m not Richard Sherman,” he said. “I’m Dontae Johnson.”