Rockford Defensive Back EJ Johnson

EJ Johnson
Rockford Defensive Back EJ Johnson

NFL Draft Series by PFC Blogger Chris Brown

As part of the NFL Draft Series on ProFootballCentral, we take a look at Rockford Defensive Back EJ Johnson. If your not familiar with him yet, it’s about time to do so! Johnson played at Division III Rockford College in Rockford, Illinois. Before playing at Rockford Johnson transferred from Palomar Community College in Escondido, California. Johnson led the Northern Athletics Conference in interceptions with seven.

He was named the conference Special Team’s Player of the Week for the week of Oct 29- Nov 4. During that span he had two interceptions, returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown and had three pass deflections. Throughout his football career he has played against the likes of Ryan Matthews (RB, Chargers) Anthony McCoy (TE, Seahawks) AJ Jefferson (CB, Vikings). EJ was able to talk about several topics today and we appreciate the time he took to speak with us.

CB: First off, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today about the upcoming NFL draft process and your future. Why don’t you start off and tell us about yourself and how you came to where you are at today.

EJ: Well I first would like to say that all of this wouldn’t be possible without god and I give him all the glory and thank him for the opportunities that he has given me today. I was born and raised in Bakersfield, California. While growing up I was playing basketball pretty much all the time, it’s my number one love. I didn’t pick up and play football until my junior year of high school. I was given inspiration from coaches in high school to play football because of my athleticism and physical style of play.

CB: Tells us a little about your transition from high school to JUCO College to playing at Rockford.

EJ: In high school during my senior year we got a new head coach. Coach believed in me and saw the potential. He had asked me if I ever considered playing football at the next level in college. I told him that I didn’t consider it at the time but it sounded interesting. Coach had mentioned to me that a few teams were interested and had inquired about me playing for them. I will say that the transition from high school to college wasn’t an easy one at the time. When people go to college they get sucked into the party life and going out all the time. I wasn’t about that life though, when people would be out partying and celebrating a win I would be in my dorm room doing a bible study session with my roommate. I found that to be a good person you need to put time and effort into everything you do and partying wasn’t that effort you needed to succeed. When I arrived at Rockford the first day we did one-on-one drills with the offense. During that span of practice, I didn’t allow a single reception to be made on me and from that point I was thrown into the starting rotation. Coach said I had playmaking abilities and I never let that thought down.

CB: During your transition from being a basketball player to a football player were there any people who help you succeed or develop your talent?

EJ: Funny you ask that, when I was in California, I was playing basketball one day and was approached by Eric Weddle (Safety, San Diego Chargers). He told me how athletic and physical I was and that I would be a great football player. He actually took time out of his day in the early mornings to work with me and told me to keep working hard and you will have success. This just goes back to my philosophy that you have to put in the time and effort to get a great reward. I also had the opportunity to meet and talk with Jeff Garcia (former 49ers, Eagles Quarterback) who also told me to keep working hard at what I’m doing. At this point hearing from these two stars was the turning point. This was the confirmation that I needed and it came in the form of these two players. Everything happens for a reason and God put these two guys in my life to show me that this is what I need to be doing.

CB: How does it feel to be named Special Teams Player of the Week for your conference?

EJ: It was definitely an honor. I had also been up for defensive player of the week that week as well. I had a great game that day, seemed like I was on point at all times. I had two interceptions and two or three pass deflections. Most notably I returned a blocked field goal for a 70 yard touchdown. It was funny because sometime during halftime, the opposing coach was being interviewed and he said that if his team was to win the game they were going to stay completely away from me. Meaning not throw any passes or rush any plays towards my direction because I was clicking on all efforts, which was a humbling experience to have their coach mention me.

CB: What was the best part playing college football?

EJ: Practice was the best part; it allowed me to put in the extra work and effort to my game. It allowed me to get very focused on my craft. When you are able to do this it allows you to put your best foot forward and focus. I also had opportunities to extend this in the classroom. Acting in a professional manner, I was able to communicate with my professors and ask them any questions about academics. I believe that getting involved with groups throughout college helps to build character and helps develop who you are and allows you to focus on the task at hand.

CB: Well, thank you EJ for taking the time to talk with ProFootballCentral today and we look forward to the next part of the series with you.

EJ: Sounds good, thank you and I’m looking forward to it!

For all those interested, be sure to check and follow EJ on twitter, his handle is @EJohnsonJR. Please be sure to check back for more interviews with EJ as well as more NFL hopefuls on ProFootballCentral.