MERRILLVILLE — JoJo Johnson has in no way been fearful to aspiration major.
When he was 9 several years outdated, he wrote down a checklist of aims for his upcoming and right at the prime was his motivation to perform university soccer for Notre Dame. That aim may perhaps have seemed a bit considerably-fetched as a youngster, but in the yrs because then, Johnson has not swayed from it.
In simple fact, he’s worked diligently to transform that dream into actuality.
Johnson, who is The Occasions 2020 Offensive Player of the Yr, starred at Merrillville in the slide and at some point reeled in a scholarship present from the Irish on Nov. 22. He formally signed with Notre Dame on Dec. 16, which introduced his journey to Notre Dame total circle.
The 5-foot-11 senior is no extended the extensive-eyed child with a larger sized-than-lifetime purpose. Now, he is a member of a person of the top recruiting classes in the place.
“I feel my handwriting has gotten a small much better since then,” Johnson claimed with a giggle. “But it’s ridiculous mainly because I by no means thought I would genuinely go to Notre Dame. I just wrote it down when I was youthful since I employed to look at them all of the time. … It really is a thing that you dream about, but you really don’t assume it will truly occur right until it does.”
Considering the fact that signing with the Irish, Johnson mentioned his commitment has come with a greater spotlight. He is acquired countless messages on Twitter and Instagram from enthusiasts close to the nation, and he’s effectively aware that there are far more eyes on him than ever right before.
To some gamers, that stage of attention may perhaps be overpowering. But for Johnson, who will be a defensive back again at Notre Dame, it truly is a reminder.
The senior explained he would not be in this placement without years of really hard get the job done, which permitted him to arise as a person of the ideal players in the state.
In the course of his last higher college marketing campaign, Johnson shined in all three phases of the match for the Pirates. He recorded 12 carries for 156 yards and 3 touchdowns and reeled in 47 catches for 878 yards and 10 scores. The senior also returned four kickoffs for 201 yards and a single landing and notched 17 tackles and seven move breakups on defense.
“I in no way want to be a cocky person, but when I’m on the industry, I want people to know like, ‘JoJo will make a difference,'” Johnson stated. “When we are in the locker room or a little something or not participating in football, I’m cool with every person. But when I’m on the subject, it truly is just distinctive. I want to kill you.”
Merrillville mentor Brad Seiss commended Johnson for his aggressive character and tenacity. He also praised the senior for his big-participate in ability that at times built the opposing team look foolish.
“He took a minimal rocket display screen versus Lake Central that basically should really have gone nowhere, and he turned it into an 86-garden touchdown. He ran all the way across the discipline and up the sideline,” Seiss reported. “That kind of things you can’t educate.”
Although those varieties of performs have often remaining Johnson’s teammates and opponents in awe, there is 1 individual who is utilised to viewing him pull off the unthinkable.
Henry Johnson, JoJo’s father, has coached and skilled his son for many many years. The two of them have usually shared a deep passion for soccer, and at any time because JoJo claimed he desired to play for Notre Dame, his father has been pushing him every single phase of the way.
“I knew he was unique when he was about 8 or 9, but I just stored telling him that he has to get superior since in my thoughts I was wondering, ‘Somebody is finally going to catch up. You is not going to be this great for good,'” Henry Johnson reported. “But actually, that by no means occurred. He never slowed down. That’s when I recognized that as lengthy as he stays healthier and retains his head on straight, he’ll make all of his dreams appear correct.”
JoJo Johnson reported it is really even now surreal that he’ll be heading to South Bend upcoming calendar year. But with a new chapter, comes new aims.
With the Irish, the senior said he wishes to turn into an All-American, gain the Jim Thorpe Award, which is a yearly honor presented to the nation’s top defensive back, and most importantly, win a countrywide championship.
Are all of all those aims feasible? Only time will notify.
But as JoJo Johnson prepares for the following phase of his profession, he feels extremely at ease betting on himself.
“You will find not truly any stress to are living up to a certain regular when you put the operate in,” JoJo Johnson explained. “I put in a lot of operate so that I can contribute on the industry. And when you put in as considerably perform as I place in, you commence to assume you can do just about anything.
“All you gotta do is aspiration.”