Getting know the a team’s new draft picks has become easier and easier throughout the years. Not only are YouTube highlight reels more accessible and more detailed, but with social media and increased transparency, fans can really get to know the man behind the helmet before they step into the spotlight in front of the local media.
That is certainly the case with new Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson. Johnson has hundreds of highlight reels online that I’m sure many of you have already consumed back to front. But perhaps the most interesting video on YouTube is a three-part documentary series from AL.com on Johnson’s path to the NFL.
The series documents Johnson’s football career all the way from his high school days, to his Auburn career and throughout his pre-draft preparation process. It gives a good background on Johnson as a player, but its real value is highlighting Johnson as a person.
Enough talking. Time to watch:
There’s a lot to cover in there, but here are my favorite quotes from Johnson’s friends, family and co-workers.
- “Not only was he raised the right way, but he was a leader.” — Rhett Lashlee, Auburn offensive coordinator
- “If you tell him that he’s not going to be able to do it, then he’s just going to keep doing it, keep trying, keep trying, keep trying until he succeeds at it.” — Natalie Johnson, Kerryon’s mother
- “It doesn’t matter where we are, if somebody see Kerryon, they’re going to want to take a picture. He’s going to stop, he’s going to accommodate. Like I see sometimes, guys going through “Tiger Walk” or after a game they come out and they’ve got their headphones on and they just walk past people. Kerryon’s not going to do that. He won’t do it.”
- “He’s a special kid that knows how to handle himself on and off the field.” — Rod Bramblett, Announcer for Auburn Football
- “In the classroom, he’s very, very intelligent, and very smart. He catches on really fast.” — Fred McCrary, former NFL FB and Team EXOS trainer
- “He’s a coachable guy. He’s one of the guys that you love to have, because he’s going to show up every day and work hard. The coachable part is something that guys don’t possess.” — Russell Orr, EXOS trainer
But maybe the most telling quote came from the man himself. Here’s Johnson on his transition from high school to college ball:
“Some recruits get on campus, and are like, ‘Ah, I made it. Time to chill.’ Some guys, they’re just there collecting, just being on scholarship, getting free school, and, you know, some people do that. Not to say that’s terrible, but you’ve got to go out there and you’ve got to work for it. It’s going to be the hardest thing you’ve ever done up to this point in your life. You’ve got to want it.”
That sort of humble attitude is going to ensure that he doesn’t get complacent once he’s playing in Detroit. Based on the last episode of the documentary, it looks like there may be another installment coming on draft day and potentially his arrival in Detroit. So stay tuned!