Springwood’s All-American running back

Published 11:32 am Saturday, November 4, 2023

The honors have started to roll in for Springwood’s CJ Johnson as he was selected to play in the Gatlinburg All-America Bowl. 

The Gatlinburg All-America Bowl picks players from private schools all across the United States. The game takes place in 8-man and 11-man format. 

Johnson was likely one of the easiest players to select for the All-America game. The sophomore running back has 1,266 rushing yards on the season to go along with 537 receiving yards and 34 total touchdowns. 

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“It feels good,” Johnson said. “I put so much work in during the offseason, it’s finally starting to pay off.” 

Johnson transferred to Springwood from Opelika before the season. Johnson largely credits his coaches and his new teammates for his success on the field this season. 

The coaching staff at Springwood has helped Johnson to become a better player in the weight room and on Friday nights. Johnson’s teammates have often pushed him even harder than the coaches because they see the potential he has. 

“Really the coaches pushing me as hard as they can in the weight room and on the field,” Johnson said. “They push me, really, more than my coaches because they see my potential now that they’ve seen me play. They know what I’m capable of.” 

Johnson has become the main focal point for opposing defenses as the season has gone on. Despite all the attention being on him in the backfield, Johnson has still found ways to be productive each week. 

“They have to know how to stop me in the running game and in the passing game now since I’m starting to get the ball more,” Johnson said. 

Springwood has had two straight weeks off, but the Wildcats will be back next week to play in the second round of the 8-man playoffs. 

With the playoffs starting, Johnson is expected to become an even larger part of Springwood’s game plan. Johnson played defensive back at Opelika, and he has played defense some this season. 

The coaching staff is going to want their best eight players on the field at all times as the Wildcats look to make a run to the state championship. Johnson should be a major factor on the defensive side. 

“I want to play more of that,” Johnson said. “I think I can do a lot more.”