CCS Sophomore of the Year
MICHAEL JOHNSON, JR, THE KING'S ACADEMY
One of the most dynamic dual-threat quarterbacks in Northern California, Johnson has already garnered the attention of major colleges across the country. With offers from schools such as Florida State, Arizona, California, Louisville, Mississippi State, and West Virginia, much was expected from his sophomore campaign. He did not disappoint.
Twice this year, the sophomore signal-caller was named the Prep2Prep Head of the Class, and excelled not just with his legs, but also as an accurate passer. A shoulder injury suffered in the ninth game of the season ended Johnson’s year, but his numbers are amazing, nonetheless.
Johnson completed 62 percent of his throws this season, for 2,099 yards and 23 touchdowns. He added close to 800 yards and 12 more scores on the ground, despite running very little in early-season blowout victories. When his King’s Academy team needed it, however, the sophomore made sure to get it done however possible. And his performance is all just part of a process geared to success not only now, but more importantly, down the road.
“We put a lot of weight on his shoulders this year, and really changed our offensive philosophy,” said King’s Academy head coach Mike Johnson, Sr. “Last year, we just wanted him to get comfortable running the offense. This year, he started making our line checks, changing pass protections, all the things he needs to do in order to really run the offense and get ready to play at the next level.”
In a 49-44 win over Castlemont-Oakland, Johnson threw for 357 yards and four touchdowns, while adding another 176 yards and two scores on the ground. But that paled slightly in comparison to his performance in a 48-41 win over Woodside, when he threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns, but dominated on the ground, running for 268 yards and five scores. The win over Woodside showcased Johnson’s ability to put the team on his back (or legs and arm) when needed, considering the Knights were missing eight starters for that game.
The big games were also not a deterrent to his performance, and only showcased the different ways he could win one. The Knights knocked off PAL-Ocean and CCS champion Half Moon Bay, with Johnson throwing for three touchdowns, in the only game of the season where both Johnson and sophomore running back Demonte Aleem were on the field together for the full 48 minutes.
The sky seems to be the limit for the final two years of his high school career. Already, in two years as the starter behind center for the Knights, Johnson has accumulated nearly 5,900 total yards of offense, and 68 touchdowns. In addition, he did it this year with three sophomores starting on the offensive line, and getting injured in a loss to Sequoia, a game where TKA was missing 13 players.
“It was really amazing for us to go 7-3 (regular season record) this year with everything we had going on,” Johnson, Sr. said. “(Michael) really had a much better knowledge of the offense this year, and also became our go-to runner for most of the year. But he also made huge gains in really understanding his read progressions, and where his feet and eyes should be at all times.”
After winning the Prep2Prep Freshman of the Year award in 2015, we are honored to have Johnson repeat in 2016, as our CCS Sophomore of the Year.
Other players considered for this award: Oak Grove’s Jamar Julien, Jr., Menlo-Atherton’s Noa Ngalu, Live Oak’s Jonathan Singleton, Gilroy’s Joseph Barnes, and Los Gatos’ Kyle Smith.