John Johnson jumps over a Boise State defender in the 2017 season opener against the Broncos in Boise, Idaho.
John Johnson, a wide receiver for the Troy football team from 2014-17, passed away Thursday, Dec. 26, in Jacksonville, Florida, from injuries he suffered in a motorcycle accident.
Johnson went to Charles Henderson High School in Troy and was an all-state player for the football team and started at center field for the school’s back-to-back state championships in baseball.
Johnson was a member of the 2014 signing class under then Head Coach Larry Blakeney. In his first two seasons, Johnson played in all 24 games under then Head Coach Neal Brown.
Johnson’s experience and attitude in his first two years laid the groundwork for being a leader on the team — a team that would boast the nation’s best turnaround with a 10-win season and AP Top 25 ranking in 2016 and 11 wins the following year. In his final game in a cardinal uniform, Johnson caught one of his four career touchdown passes and even threw a two-point conversion in Troy’s record-setting victory in the 2017 New Orleans Bowl.
While Johnson’s love was football, his passion was for people and his hometown. Johnson volunteered in Troy with Read Across America, Pike County Heart Walk, Salvation Army food drives, Habitat for Humanity and many more community service projects. His infectious smile and giving heart were always present, no matter the circumstance.
Johnson’s generosity did not go unnoticed. He was nominated for both the Wuerffel Trophy and Allstate Good Works Team. In the spring prior to his senior season, he was named to the Sun Belt Conference Leadership Team, which is for student-athletes who show the best qualities of being a student-athlete.
Some of the people that knew him best described him like this.
In a press release, Troy Director of Athletics Brent Jones remembered Johnson because of his dedication as a student athlete.
“He represented the name on the front and back of the jersey with class and dignity in the classroom, on the field and in the countless community service projects he championed,” Jones said.
Former Troy head coach Larry Blakeney spoke highly of Johnson’s character.
“John was a great kid,” Blakeney said in a press release. “Very giving of his time and just a bona fide young man.”
Former Troy head coach Neal Brown remembered Johnson for his community impact.
“My heart hurts for John’s family, friends and former teammates” Brown said in a tweet. “He played a critical role in rebuilding the Troy program on the field and developing our culture off the field.
“John’s big smile and his servant heart will live on. He made a huge impact in the Troy community.”