Johnson inks scholarship to be a Knight | Sports | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | July 22, 2016 5:00 am
Last Updated: July 20, 2016 at 2:23 pm
By CINDY CROSBY
Former Cougar and Colleton County High School Class of 2016 graduate Brian Johnson Jr. signed a scholarship on Monday July 18 to play football for St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, N.C. Recruited as a tight end, Brian will redshirt this upcoming season, then join the Knights for their inaugural 2017-18 season to compete in the NAIA Mid-South Conference.
Johnson, a halfback and tight end for the Cougars, played football for the past seven years, spending three years on the varsity and two on the junior varsity. He was also a four-year varsity letterman in soccer.
“We are very proud of Brian,” said Coach Chris Collins during Monday’s signing ceremony. “When he first started playing for us, he was very quiet. We’ve watched him become an impressive young man and athlete, along with showing tremendous leadership. He is also going to do great things outside of the game of football. We wish him the very best in his future.”
According to Johnson, his decision to commit to St. Andrews University in May was an easy one following an official visit. “It is a small, quiet campus with a great teacher-to-student ratio,” said Johnson. “I can learn much better that way. They made me feel like they will help me become the most successful player and student I can be. Academics played a very important role in my decision, because I wanted to be at a place where I would have the most potential after college.”
Attributing his success to his high school football coaches, Johnson was happy to have them supporting him on signing day. “I owe my coaches a lot of thanks for their support and belief in me,” said Johnson. “Coach McDonnell pushed me hard in the weight room and Coach Collins helped me understand there is a time for work — and there is a time for play. Coach Rhodes pushed me to believe in myself and always expected 110% out of me on the playing field. Because of them, I hope to bring a lot to the table for the Knights.”
Coach Matt Rhodes, who coaches the Cougar offensive line, was happy to have the opportunity to coach Brian and see him reach his goal of playing college football. “Brian is the type of kid you want to coach, because of the way he responds to being coached,” said Rhodes. “You can actually see him applying what he’s learned and improving his craft, making him a more technically sound player. He was the guy I often used to demonstrate a drill, because I knew he would accomplish it perfectly. Honestly, Brian is just a great kid to be around and I could not be prouder of his accomplishments. His future is bright.”
Surrounded by his family on his signing day, Johnson knows how lucky he is to have their support. “I would like to thank all of my teammates, family and friends,” said Johnson. “I would like to especially thank my great-grandmother for instilling wisdom in me and always taking the time to sit down and talk with me.”
Brian’s father, Brian Johnson Sr., spoke at his son’s signing today in a heartfelt message to the Cougar coaching staff. “I would like to thank Coach Collins and the coaching staff for their role in Brian’s life,” said the elder Johnson. “Because of each of you, he can go off to college and I can have peace of mind and confidence, knowing he has been taught the right way. You have imparted upon him the things he needs to know in order to be successful. He can always come back to you guys and rely on you for information or advice, because each of you would give him the best of both. I have no worries about that. My wife and I would like to thank you from deep down inside for taking time during these four years to help make him the young man he has become, and will still grow to be, because of your influence.”
Brian is the son of Brian Johnson, Sr. and Nichole Burgess. He graduated with a 3.2 GPA in May from Colleton County High School and plans to major in computer science at St. Andrews.