Safety proves to be asset to team

Junior safety Chris Johnson (13) wraps up a tackle with teammate Nick Nichols (29) at the Texas A&M-Commerce game Sept. 1. Johnson became player of the game after performing well in the season opener.

by Student Writer Macie Pigg

After his first game at UNA, junior Chris Johnson became player of the game for his performance against Texas A&M-Commerce.

In the first football game of the season, Johnson had two interceptions.

Originally from Birmingham, Johnson graduated from Oak Mountain High School. The junior transferred to UNA from the University of Albany in New York.

“He’s a guy we weren’t sure we were going to take or not,” said head football coach Chris Willis. “We didn’t know a lot about him. But we did, and he’s been great. I think his best football is still ahead of him.”

Johnson started playing football at six years old. Like many others, it was a sport he never wanted to let go of.

“Honestly, I love everything about it,” Johnson said. “There’s not one thing I can say I don’t like.”

The path to being a college athlete so far has been obstacle free for Johnson. The only setback is he does not get to live like a normal student, but he said he does not mind.

Although he has been at UNA for a short amount of time, Johnson has already made an impact. Willis said Johnson has improved on his catching.

“He’s always had good hands, but he did struggle when he first started camp with just the way we do things,” Willis said. “Now, he’s gotten comfortable. I can tell.”

It is not only his performance on the field making a difference. His character seems to stand out the most, Willis said.

“Everyone seems to take a liking to him,” he said. “I know he’s a locker room guy, he has comradery and he doesn’t seem to have any enemies.”

Willis said Johnson leads by example. He is not an outspoken leader, but he is always there on time, where he is supposed to be and acts like he is supposed to out in public.

“I don’t have many major accolades on the field,” Johnson said. “I like to just let my game speak for itself.”

Off the field, Johnson said he likes to relax and play video games with friends. After college, Johnson plans to pursue professional football, but if that does not work, he plans to be a physical therapist.

“I’m just thankful for this opportunity to play here at a great place with great people,” Johnson said. “I look forward to a great season and hopefully we’ll make another run at the championship.”