Leading By Example

Devin Johnson was a two-year letterwinner playing defensive line at Citrus Junior College in 2007 and 2008 and a two-time all-Western States Conference honoree. He was playing great football and leading his team to a successful year on the field.Off the field, Johnson was struggling with his academics and keeping life in perspective. It was a difficult time for Johnson, but he found his strength and support through his family.”When I was struggling with grades my parents always encouraged me to stick with it and to keep my head up. If it wasn’t for their support I know I wouldn’t be here at Utah State today,” said Johnson.With his parents encouragement, Johnson continued to work hard in school to keep his grades where they needed to be. His hard work in the classroom paid off when Utah State began recruiting him for the 2009 season.”Coach Gary Andersen took a chance on me. My grades weren’t the best, and he took the risk to bring me to Utah State. Now I have the best grade point average I have had in my entire life,” Johnson said.That risk the coaches took on bringing Johnson to Utah State has paid off for them too.”Devin does a lot for this team on special teams and is highly involved in the defensive line,” said head coach Gary Andersen.Johnson has always dedicated himself to improvement on the field through listening to his coaching and implementing what they ask him to do. “Devin has done everything we have asked him to do from the minute he got here,” said Andersen.Johnson’s hard work has propelled him to be a leader for his team, “I have learned how to be a big brother, not only to the younger players on our team but also to my own brothers back at home,” claimed Johnson.It is the example he has set for his two younger brothers, 15-year old Corey and 12-year old Jordan, that Johnson is most proud.”I’ve tried to set the example for them through working hard and doing well in school,” said Johnson.Johnson says it’s rewarding to see his hard work being noticed by his brothers.”Ever since I have been working harder, they have been picking it up at home. They have started working harder at school,” Johnson said.Passion for the game is the driving force for Johnson.”Football has been a passion of mine for a long time, I love the contact; I love lining up and hitting people,” Johnson said.The love and passion Johnson has for the game boiled to the surface in the recent game against BYU.Johnson recorded his first sack of the year against the Cougars, in a victory that highlights the last decade of football at USU.”It felt like I could no wrong in that game and getting a sack made it an amazing night for me, one I probably will never forget,” reflected Johnson.The season is half over for the senior-laden Aggies, but for Johnson the future is still far off. “To be completely honest, I haven’t really thought about plans after football. We’re having so much fun as a team right now I haven’t thought about after the season. I just want to keep playing football, I love this game,” Johnson said emphatically.The Aggies have set a goal for this team to reach a bowl game. It will be a difficult road for them to achieve this goal, but Johnson feels confident they will succeed.”We compete as a team, and we are playing as a unified group. That leads to victories,” said Johnson.It is the unity and bonding that Johnson feels has changed the Aggies this season.”The best way I could describe it is that we are like a family. We look after one another,” shared Johnson.-USU-

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