Published on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 by Alanis King
The Viking Fight Song rings throughout the stadium, and cheers from the cheerleaders echo simultaneously with those of the fans as Chris Johnson takes the field for one of his last games as a Viking. The atmosphere of high school football will be all but a memory for Johnson at the end of this school year when he retires his blue and silver jersey for a green and gold one.
The green and gold jersey is that of Baylor University, who’s recruiting staff has been eyeing Johnson’s ability for quite some time.
“[Baylor] showed a lot of interest in me at an early age,” Johnson said. “They offered me a scholarship at the end of my sophomore year.”
To be recruited as a quarterback at a top university, one must not only have skill on the field, but off of it as well. Being a leader in the coach’s eyes as well as in the eyes of fellow teammates is a vital role for a quarterback.
“[Chris] always pushes us to be better individually and as a team by talking to all the guys about specific roles we need to play in order to be the best team possible,” teammate VJ Banks said. “He’s been around the game longer than me and breaks things down so I can understand.”
It is essential for the quarterback to not only perform physically, but to have the mindset of a winner, even if the rest of the team is discouraged. According to Coach Matt Falden, this is something that Johnson has mastered.
“Chris is a leader on the team in the fact that he makes plays,” Falden said. “Being a leader takes two things, they have to make plays and on top of that have to lead positively. Quarterbacks have to have the ‘I will never lose’ attitude.”
Though Johnson possesses the qualities of a great leader and quarterback, he continues to learn how to polish his skills as he makes the transition from high school to college football.
“I’m learning how to be a leader and how to lead my team,” Johnson said. “When we’re out there in the game, everything doesn’t always go our way, and, being the leader, everybody looks up to me to see what to do, so I have to be the one to keep my composure, and get our team through it.”
As Johnson moves to the next level in football, playing for Baylor University, he’ll continue to be a leader, working towards his ultimate goal of playing in the NFL.
“He has all the tools to do it. Bottom line he’s going to be extremely successful in whatever career he chooses,” Falden said. “Whether it’s the next level in football, elsewhere, he’s going to be successful because of his work ethic.”