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Johnson hopes Albany State success will spark pro career

Demetrice Antwone Johnson had a phenomenal football season at Albany State University.

The 22-year-old Johnson, son of Sharon Johnson and Willie Brinkley, both of Thomson, recently returned to Thomson for the holidays and spoke with The McDuffie Mirror about his performance on the gridiron this season.

"I was pretty pleased with the season I had," said Johnson. "I wish we could have gone undefeated, but we had a winning season and we made it to the playoffs."

The Golden Rams lost out in the first round of the playoffs to West Alabama, 24-22.

Johnson, who just completed his senior season, was a star running back at Albany State for three seasons after transferring there from Georgia Military College in Milledgeville.

During his career at Albany State, Johnson scored 36 touchdowns -- 20 of them this season. A total of 15 of them came by ground, while the other five came through the air.

"I'd like to focus on getting ready for the pro draft," said Johnson, who played on the 2002 Class AAAA State Football Championship at Thomson High School.

"I don't plan to play baseball this season so I can concentrate on football more. I've been working all my life to get the chance to play pro football," he said.

He started out at the age of 11, playing midget football for a local recreation team known as the Falcons.

In baseball, Johnson was a star player, too, playing third base and centerfield.

Many observers say Johnson is talented enough to possibly be a double-sport professional athlete in both football and baseball.

Asked what he thought of that idea, Johnson replied, "That would be great, if that happened. I feel like I could do it."

If such happened, Johnson could rank up there with the likes of Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson -- both of whom played professional football and baseball.

This past season, Johnson helped Albany State to an impressive 8-3 record. Johnson played in all 11 games.

He rushed 171 times for 938 yards -- an average of 5.0 yards per carry. His longest touchdown run of the season was for 50 yards.

In addition, Johnson also caught 30 passes this season for a total of 446 yards, scored five touchdowns -- his longest catch going for 61 yards. He averaged 40.5 yards in receiving per game.

Johnson led Albany State in all-purpose yards his senior season. He finished with 1,637 yards, including 332 yards in kickoff returns.

His statistics are likely to have been even better had it not been for the fact he played slot receiver the first five games of the season, rather than running back.

"I wished I could have played running back all season," said Johnson. "I know my numbers would have been better than they were."

Johnson said one of his fondest memories of college football life would be all of his teammates and coaches.

"We went through a lot together," said Johnson. "I'll always remember them."

Johnson leaves this Saturday from Hartsville-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta for a flight to Kingsville, Texas. That's the site of the Jan. 8 Valero Cactus Bowl between the East and West All-Stars. Johnson will be representing the East team. The NCAA Division II All-Star game is marking its 16th year of existence.

Johnson, who is majoring in criminal justice, hopes someday to use his education as a probation officer or crime scene investigator.

Web posted on Thursday, December 31, 2009

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