ORONO, Maine — Derrick Johnson was the fastest player on the University of Maine football team last season.
That, and his ability to catch the ball, have not gone unnoticed by the National Football League.
Johnson has agreed to terms with the New England Patriots, according to numerous news outlets.
Last season, the wide receiver from Hempstead, N.Y., tied for the team lead in receptions with 60 for 608 yards and two touchdowns in 13 games. The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder finished his UMaine career with 116 receptions for 1,185 yards and four touchdowns in 37 games.
Last September, in the Black Bears’ 24-14 victory over UMass at the home of the Patriots, Gillette Stadium, Johnson had a team-high five receptions for 38 yards.
The 22-year-old Johnson is the fourth former Black Bear to join an NFL team in the spring of 2014.
Cornerback Kendall James (Roselle, N.J.) was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the sixth round while tight end Justin Perillo inked an undrafted rookie free agent deal with the Green Bay Packers.
Defensive end Mike Cole (North Brunswick, N.J.) was invited to Washington Redskins minicamp.
Johnson’s 4.3-second clocking in the 40-yard dash was the best on the UMaine squad last season.
“We like to think we recruit speed all the time, but there’s speed and there’s special speed. He’s in that second category,” UMaine head coach Jack Cosgrove said last season.
At UMaine’s pro day earlier this month, Johnson ran what her termed a disappointing 4.47-second 40-yard dash. He was clocked in 6.60 seconds in the three-cone drill and timed a 4.20-second short shuttle.
Johnson turned in a broad jump of 10 feet, 2 inches and went 33 inches in the vertical jump. He later attended a regional scouting combine in Maryland.
As a junior in 2012, Johnson made 31 catches for 346 yards and two scores.
Johnson earned a business administration degree in management from UMaine in December.
The Patriots already have 11 wide receivers who expect to compete for a spot on the 2014 roster. The group is led by veterans Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Tompkins.
New England selected wideout Jeremy Gallon of Michigan in the seventh round of the 2014 draft.