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Texas HS Football Legend: Derrick Johnson

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Born and raised in the football-loving town of Waco, Texas, Derrick Johnson was destined for greatness from an early age. His intrinsic flair for football was evident even in his youth, setting him apart from his peers and marking the beginnings of an illustrious career.

Johnson’s high school career at Waco High School was a testament to his exceptional talent. Playing as both linebacker and running back, he showcased a unique versatility that quickly caught the attention of both fans and scouts. His high school stats were nothing short of impressive, with him recording over 170 tackles and 30 sacks in his senior year alone. These performances led to him being named a Parade High School All-American, a fitting conclusion to his high school journey and a promising sign of what was to come.

A Longhorn Legend: Johnson’s Unforgettable College Career

Choosing to stay in his home state, Johnson attended the University of Texas. As a Longhorn, he continued to exhibit his talent, becoming a pillar of the team’s defense. His combination of speed, agility, and brute force set him apart from his opponents.

Johnson’s college stats speak volumes about his prowess. Over his four years, he recorded a remarkable 458 tackles, 65 of which were for a loss, and 10.5 sacks. His stellar performances earned him the Dick Butkus and Jack Lambert awards in 2004, both esteemed recognitions for the top college linebacker. Upon graduating, Johnson left an indelible mark on the University of Texas football program.

From Rookie to Record Breaker: Johnson’s NFL Career

As the 15th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, Johnson joined the Kansas City Chiefs. His athleticism and speed quickly made him a key component of their defense.

Johnson’s NFL career was filled with standout performances and records. Over his 13 seasons with the Chiefs, he was selected for the Pro Bowl four times, solidifying his place among the NFL’s elite linebackers. He recorded a franchise record of 1,151 tackles, 27.5 sacks, and 14 interceptions. Despite battling injuries throughout his career, Johnson always returned to the field with the same passion and intensity that he’d displayed since his high school days.

A Legacy That Echoes: The Impact of Derrick Johnson

Derrick Johnson’s influence extends beyond his retirement. His story, marked by relentless dedication and exceptional talent, continues to inspire future generations of football enthusiasts. From the fields of Waco High School to the grand arenas of the NFL, Derrick Johnson’s journey is a compelling tale of resilience, skill, and unwavering love for the game of football.

Derrick Johnson Career Awards

High School:

  • USA Today High School All-American (2000)

College (University of Texas):

  • First-team All-Big 12 (2003, 2004)
  • Consensus All-American (2004)
  • Dick Butkus Award (2004)
  • Bronko Nagurski Trophy (2004)

NFL (Kansas City Chiefs):

  • Pro Bowl selection (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015)
  • First-Team All-Pro (2011)
  • Kansas City Chiefs team MVP (2011)
  • Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee (2012, 2013)
  • Kansas City Chiefs franchise record for tackles (1,151)


CLICK HERE to listen to the Texas HS Football Podcast, with Taylor Arenz

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