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Where Are They Now: Dennis Johnson

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Dennis Johnson’s first played organized football as a second-grader for the Harrodsburg (Ky.) High School varsity squad. Due to low enrollment, Johnson dressed for the varsity team along with his older brother, Derrick, a third-grader. Johnson, who stood 5-foot-7 and nearly 170 pounds in the second grade mostly was used as a practice dummy, but in some games saw playing time in the final minutes. Johnson would not play varsity football again until the seventh grade due to a rule change by Kentucky’s athletic association. Johnson finished a seven-year high school career as Kentucky’s Mr. Football in 1997.

Johnson decided to stay home and play football, ch0osing Kentucky over elite programs that included Notre Dame, Florida, Miami (Fla.) and Colorado. Johnson started six games as a freshman and led the defensive ends with 26 tackles. Johnson was chosen second-team Freshman All-America by The Sporting News, and honorable mention Freshman All-American by Football News. 

As a sophomore, Johnson finished with 39 tackles and led the team in quarterback sacks with five for -33 yards that earned him All-SEC honors from The Associated Press. After a high ankle sprain in the first game of the season against Louisville during his junior season, Johnson received medical redshirt that retained the year of eligibility.

Upon his return in 2001, Johnson lad the SEC in tackles for a loss, sacks and forced fumbles. Johnson set a school record with a conference-best 12 tackles. Johnson left Kentucky following his junior season and entered the NFL Draft.

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The Arizona Cardinals selected Johnson in the third round (98th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft. In Johnson’s first year in the league, he played in 13 games, finished with 15 tackles. Johnson started 10 out of 15 games in his second season and finished with 42 combined tackles. In 2004, Johnson was traded to the San Francisco 49ers where he played in one game. Johnson retired following his third year in the NFL.

Johnson returned to Lexington to coach football, including stints as an assistant at Lafayette High School and Lexington Christian Academy. Johnson served as the head coach at Jessie Clark Middle School and Crawford Middle School.

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In March, Johnson was hired as the head coach of Woodford County High School along with being inducted into the Dawahares/KHSAA Hall of Fame.

“I am very excited to be at WCHS. I think this is a place where you can grow a football program,” said Johnson. “Woodford has the potential to be a great football team next year. I think the community will support a team that puts a good product on the field.”

Johnson takes over a Woodford team that has had only one winning season in the last seven years. Johnson will also have the privilege of coaching Drake Jackson, the offensive guard committed to Kentucky, in his senior season. Jason is one of the top-ranked centers in the 2016 recruiting class.

“I met Drake and think he brings the star power to bring a lot of attention to the school and the community,” Johnson said. “He seemed to be a humble young man that is ready to go to work. I think our offensive line is huge and will be a big key to our team just like it was at Lafayette. But the honeymoon is over and it’s time to go to work.”

 


 

 

Article written by Kindsey Bernhard

Lover of dogs, sports and beer. @kindseybernhard

5 Comments for Where Are They Now: Dennis Johnson



  1. Catman4Life
    7:15 pm July 20, 2015 Permalink

    Ok, I hate to be that guy, but what should’ve been a great piece on DJ was obscured to me by the grammatical, syntax & spelling errors that jumped off the page(screen). If this is the quality of work that we can expect when it’s not Matt, Drew or Tyler, then I hope that you have enjoyed your ride as the most viewed UK site. It won’t take long until the content is crap, if the editing doesn’t matter.



  2. C-A-T-S
    9:02 pm July 20, 2015 Permalink

    Alright- I appreciate the effort but the piece was unreadable for me. Nine sentences, including five consecutive sentences in the second and third graph, began with the subject’s last name (Johnson…). It reminds me reading 4th grade essay’s. For one, a pronoun is acceptable and actually makes reading a piece much easier. Second, there are many ways to refer to a subject (i.e. “The Harrodsburg, Ky., native” or “The 1997 Kentucky Mr. Football”). If you find yourself beginning three or four sentences in the exact same way, an adjustment is certainly needed.



  3. who's jason?
    9:51 pm July 20, 2015 Permalink

    Johnson will also have the privilege of coaching Drake Jackson, the offensive guard committed to Kentucky, in his senior season. Jason is one of the top-ranked centers in the 2016 recruiting class.



  4. CatsBy80
    8:38 am July 21, 2015 Permalink

    i pointed out how difficult this was to read last week… i see that my criticism was not well-received. if you’re going to just list all of his stats, please do so in bullet form, as opposed to paragraphs. and for the love of God, please edit the piece before you submit.



  5. Cayts
    12:16 pm July 21, 2015 Permalink

    My wife taught with Dennis for many years. He is a great teacher who demands accountability for classwork and holds his kids to a high level of responsibility. I’m sure he will have success at Woodford Co. HS.