HUNTINGTON, W.Va.– Coaches love players that make it hard to take them off the field and Devon Johnson is making it awfully difficult to put him on the sidelines. The sophomore from Richlands, Va. is exactly the type of player Doc Holliday is looking for. He puts the team first, works hard, and loves to play football.
Johnson came to Marshall as a fullback, and the staff tried moving him to linebacker. Now, Johnson has switched postions again, moving down to tight end.
“I’m going to play as hard as I can and I’m going to try my best to help this team,” Johnson humbly says.
Johnson got the crowd and his teammates fired up with massive stiff arm that drove safety DJ Hunter into the ground during Saturday night’s scrimmage. It’s just part of the fullback mentality that Johnson plays the game with. He’s not flashy, not outspoken, but just a player who is trying to impress the coaching staff and help his team win.
“I just work hard all week and my teammates help me learn the new position, I have Gator (Hoskins) and Froh (Eric Frohnapfel) always there helping me,” says Johnson.
Johnson is making an already talented group of tight ends even deeper and causing a log jam for playing time. Senior Gator Hoskins is one of the top tight ends in the conference and now Johnson is making a strong case to be the number two on the depth chart. Johnson has the ability to line up at end, the slot, in the backfield or even as a wing if needed.
“He’s similar to Gator, you can put those guys in a lot of places. I think they’re two talented guys we’ve got to get involved in the game,” knows Doc Holliday.
Johnson is still learning the position and knows there is more to learn.
“My routes, the fundamental of them. I just have to learn them better and work hard. I don’t want to have to think it about it. I’m getting to that point,” says Johnson.
Johnson spent the offseason putting in extra work in the summer learning the position and working with quarterbacks Rakeem Cato and Blake Frohnapfel to get a feel for the passing game.
“They’ve helped a lot. All through the summer they stayed out here and threw the ball to me and when we got into camp and have helped me even more.”
Even though Johnson has switched positions he’s still a fullback at heart. Ask whether he’d like to have the chance to catch a touchdown or layout an unsuspecting defender and Johnson doesn’t hesitate with his answer.
“Either one’s good but I like to block.”