Where There is a WILL, There is a Way

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Murphy Football Tight End Will Johnson will be a contributor for the Bulldogs

By Brandon Stephens


(Murphy) – – Watch Will.  Empirical evidence suggests a few more passes to Will Johnson would bring about some good outcomes for the Bulldogs.  Each pass thrown to Johnson in 2021 brought about an average 25-yard gain on 11 receptions and around 250 yards on the season, which was more than 10% of the collective passing yards made in the Fall 2021 season (2016 yards in passing completed).  Johnson had a touchdown and no dropped footballs in game.  Usually, Johnson’s reception plays set the stage for a J’uan Allen or Ty Laney sprint for six points, or a toss to the end zone to Payton McCracken.  Will also played in the shadow of some really talented players and the tight-end hot route was not a play we saw a lot of.  This year we may see more of the pass to the tight end specifically to Will Johnson.

There are a number of players expected to make the plays and place the ball into “touchdown town” (a nickname I have given to the end zone over the years).  Murphy will have veteran Laney Brothers (Cole at Quarterback and Ty at Running back), John Ledford, and, Cameron Grooms making the flashy run plays.  You’re guaranteed to see excellent work out of the seasoned linemen like Kyle Willard, Jeremiah Dickey, Jonathan Hamby, and Mason Thrasher.  Where we have not seen as much action is the short hot route to the tight end.  When it is used, Murphy has parled good yards for its offense.  Murphy Senior Will Johnson has been responsible for building the foundation new beginnings and a more diversified offense.

The goals are to be an all-conference tight end; help the team win the conference title; and throw in a state championship, Will Johnson told us.  Having an honest conversation with Will this summer, we noted he has to improve his receptions and get his hands in better position are steps he needs to take to reach the goals he outlined.  He has a good amount of body fat, picked up some muscle, and bought a Jugs machine (football passing machine https://jugssports.com/products/football-passing-machine.html).  When we went into the first seven-on-seven competition at Union County at the end of Spring, Johnson was not hitting the mark and getting the reception so well.  During the last days of seven-on-sevens and workouts, he has been showing great promise and improvements.  The larger question for Murphy is to find wide receivers.  There are several who can catch the ball, but who gets the call is still up in the air for Murphy leadership.  Will is helping the younger receivers find the spot on the field, when he is not being called over by Defensive Coordinator Erik Laney to work with the line.  Will is going to be a good leader for the Murphy Bulldogs this season in his own quiet way.


Will Johnson leads a huddle discussion in practice

Will Johnson should have all of the tools he needs to achieve his goals, personally and with the team.  Genetically, he should be in attractive shape, having a father, Shawn Johnson, whom played during a golden era of NC State football in the early 1990’s, which I witnessed while I worked for the Tar Heel Sports Network.  The Wolfpack was 9-3-1 and finished 17th in the Associated Press final football poll.  Mother Penny Johnson was a star basketball player at Appalachian State University and holds records at the school and in the Southern Conference.  When he isn’t working on football, he gets plenty of work in on the farm and thinking about his future.  Let’s hear from Will Johnson about who he is and what are his foci for work, school, athletics, and who he is.  You can hear our interview with him at the link in this article.

Murphy football leadership loves to see a student athlete like Will Johnson come along.  He has desire to get better, he has a true love of the game and his team.  Johnson also has a 4.5 GPA and ACT scores out the roof.  Although will is not the marquee player like so many that have played for the Bulldogs, he is the total package.  That is why we believe he is a player that most would consider under the radar and will be a potential game changer. “(Will Johnson) That’s an outstanding young man that comes from a great family.  He is not only an outstanding football players, but he is a great student athlete.  When you are talking about Will Johnson, you are talking about the total student athlete,” Murphy Head Football Coach Joseph Watson told us.  Hear his full comments at the link in this article.

The Murphy Bulldogs will rely on a number of players to achieve their goals and the level of success they have historically been accustomed.  We believe Will Johnson will start out under the radar, because Murphy has been a powerful run team from its branded way of running from the Wing-T.  Tight End routes and passes have not been a highly utilized play.  Will is ready to make fans come to their feet this season, and he may do it more than once.  Look for Will Johnson to rise above the radar.


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