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Top recruit Duke Johnson said he'll stick by Canes until they pull his scholarship away

Randy "Duke" Johnson, widely considered the top 2012 recruit in Al Golden's next recruiting class, said Wednesday his plan is to stick by the Hurricanes through this NCAA investigation until somebody pulls his scholarship away.

Duke Johnson "If it's my scholarship that's taken away, then I'll have no choice," said Johnson, a 5-9, 170-pound running back at Miami Norland. "But if I still have a full ride to go, I'll be there."

Johnson, who grew up a huge Hurricanes fan and has helped UM recruit other 2012 players to Coral Gables, came down to The Miami Herald building Wednesday to shoot his picture for the cover of the Miami-Dade High School Football Preview.

With the future of UM's program under a cloud of uncertainty, one might imagine Johnson is already considering Plan B -- especially if the mountain of allegations from former booster Nevin Shapiro lead to sanctions such as potential loss of scholarships, post-season bans and maybe much more. But Johnson said he isn't flinching or thinking about jumping ship. He plans on standing by Al Golden as long as Al Golden stands by him.

"Miami has been a school I've been loving since growing up," said Johnson, who along with Norland teammates Keith Brown (a 6-2, 230-pound star linebacker) and Ereck Flowers (a 6-6, 305-pound offensive tackle) are part of UM's 2012 class."

"It was always been my dream. If I ever had the opportunity to go to the University of Miami, that would be the school I would attend..."

Johnson, who wears a UM jacket to school and can always be spotted with a Canes cap, said he hasn't been contacted by any other schools since the Yahoo! news story broke. But adds, "I expect it will happen soon." Regardless, Johnson says, he's confident he'll be a Hurricane in the end.

"I would be shocked [if the NCAA handed down the death penalty]," Johnson said. "The death penalty for this? It hasn't been given often. I think it was given one time like 20-25 years ago [SMU]. So if they were given the death penalty, I wouldn't know what to do.

"But I think [the NCAA] shouldn't take away from what Coach Golden has accomplished -- what he's doing and working so hard to do. We're bringing in kids. Just cause something happened eight, 10 years ago, that's out of his power, that's out of our power. There's nothing we can do about it. The only thing we can do is avoid it from happening again."

Johnson said he hasn't reached out to any fellow UM recruits yet. He's trying "to give it time to blow over." But once he knows a little more about the penalties UM might incur, he said, he'll reach out and call others.

"I think we could do some special things with the freshman and sophomores that are already there and the upcoming freshman, my class 2012," Johnson said. "I just hope they let us keep it together."