VAUGHT: Johnson's best football is ahead of him

VAUGHT: Johnson's best football is ahead of him

Even after an extra year of football at Hargrave Military Academy, Kentucky freshman offensive lineman Christian Johnson still believes his best football is ahead of him.

He's probably right, too, considering he only played two years of high school football.

"My freshman year we were living in Hawaii and I withdrew from the team," Johnson said. "My sophomore year we moved to Virginia but I had some academic trouble. My junior and senior years, I finally got to play. Then I did my year at Hargrave. So I know I am going to get better the more football I play here.

"I have been waiting for this chance all my life. The anticipation has been building for months. I couldn't wait to get to hitting people and starting this season off."

Johnson is one of a talented class of offensive linemen that could be a building block for UK's future success. "People tell you that you have a chance to come in and start, or play, but you still have to put in the work. It's no cakewalk. The people in front of me are good players," he said. "But I am pretty strong for a freshman. I think I can bring intensity and a mean streak that a team needs. I am not dirty, but I am hard-nosed. Fear and nervousness are not an option in my game."

Yet he was more than just a little apprehensive when he had problems with the NCAA clearinghouse over his eligibility.

"Ever since I have been out of Hargrave, there has been something going on with the clearinghouse every time I turn around," Johnson said. "I had confidence that the coaches would get things worked out. I am set to go. I have been cleared to play. It was just some confusion on paperwork. But it was stressful. All I could do was sit back and pray it all came together."

His younger brother, Micah, is one of the state's top players. He's a linebacker-running back at Fort Campbell who is being pursued by most of the nation's top programs.

"He has got a lot faster. He has lost weight since some camps this summer. I am pretty sure he will destroy a lot of teams this year," Christian Johnson said.

The two brothers got to play two years together in Virginia. "He was the first freshman ever to start and we had a good team when I was a junior. The next year we were the only two returning lettermen and we didn't have a very good season," Christian Johnson said.

He hopes to see his younger brother play twice this season on weeks UK has open dates. Last year he only got to see one scrimmage. He depended on DVDs that his younger brother sent him to monitor his brother's progress.

"Micah is kind of weird. Some people get nervous in competition, but competition drives him to being the best," Christian Johnson said. "The things he needs to work on are mainly simple stuff that the coaches could knock out in no time. But I think he's going to be an exceptional college player.

"I am hoping to get him here. I think he wants us to have a winning season and come into a program that is doing well. I think that will happen this year, so I think I can get him to come here. I just want to tell him, 'Micah, get up here. I need you up here.' But I try to think from his point of view. I was recruited by a lot of schools, but not nearly like he is being recruited. It's hard for me to tell him how to even narrow down his list. Me and my family just have to talk a lot about what he wants to major in, what position he wants to play and stuff like that."

Christian Johnson likes analyzing situations. He wants to be a child psychologist. "I love working with kids. That is my dream to be a role model for the community and kids," he said.

And what about UK's upcoming season?

"We can have a good year. We have a lot of good players, maybe even more than I realized," he said. "If we just listen to the coaches, we will be fine."

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