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Old 11-25-2004, 01:21 AM  
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KC Star: Texas LB Johnson one big hit

http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansas...s/10266132.htm

Texas's Johnson one big hit
Linebacker, and Oklahoma's White, top Big 12

By BLAIR KERKHOFF
The Kansas City Star


In nine years of all-Big 12 football teams, few have been praised quite like Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson.

“Best linebacker I've seen in a very long time,” Oklahoma State coach Les Miles said.

“One of the best players I've ever seen,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. “He changes games.”

“A phenomenal player,” Kansas coach Mark Mangino said. “When you run away from him, he runs you down.”

Sold. Johnson is The Kansas City Star's Big 12 defensive player of the year.

Oklahoma quarterback Jason White repeats as offensive player of the year.

Honored players were selected by The Star's sportswriters who regularly cover the Big 12.

Johnson also was an all-conference player last season, but nobody outside of new Texas defensive coordinator Greg Robinson saw this kind of season from Johnson. He leads the nation with six forced fumbles, tops Texas in tackles with 86 and is a finalist for every major defensive award.

When Robinson, the former Chiefs defensive coordinator, arrived in Austin he and Johnson got together in the film room. Robinson pointed out how Johnson would overrun a play and told him to slow down briefly at the snap.

“He's helped me play more under control,” Johnson said of Robinson.

Johnson can come from anywhere on the field, at any time. He's allowed to chase plays and deliver blows with a full head of steam. He moved from middle to outside linebacker to take advantage of his speed.

Every weekend adds to the highlight reel.

Johnson had 18 tackles against Oklahoma State and 16 against Oklahoma. He turned in what must be one of the top defensive plays of the year against the Sooners.

On a third and 4, Johnson lined up to White's left. White rolled right and Johnson ran him down nearly to the Oklahoma sideline. From behind, Johnson grabbed White from around the waist with his left arm and punched the ball out of White's hand with his right. Texas recovered. Johnson forced a fumble in similar fashion a week earlier against Baylor.

Johnson also collected his ninth interception of his career against the Sooners, a record for Texas linebackers.

It started innocently enough. Johnson's mom called him a “sissy” as a 9-year-old little league football player. His mom, Beverly, would take him to practice and he didn't want to go. He'd stand outside the van and start crying. “She dragged me out of the van, literally,” Johnson said. “Every day, in front of everybody. … But she got me tougher. I'm glad she did it.”

Johnson came into his own in high school. As a senior at Waco High, he recorded a 30-tackle game.

White is bidding to own the greatest two-season stretch from a quarterback in college football history. He won last year's Heisman Trophy after throwing 40 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions.

In leading the Sooners to an 11-0 record and No. 2 ranking, White has thrown 30 touchdown passes and four interceptions. He'll enter next week's Big 12 championship game with 183 straight attempts without an interception.

White likely will be a Heisman Trophy finalist, and so will teammate Adrian Peterson, The Star's offensive newcomer of the year. Peterson is having one of the greatest freshman seasons ever, with 1,671 rushing yards. He's tied an NCAA record for freshman by topping 100 yards in 10 games.

Sooners coach Bob Stoops isn't taking sides. But he is emphasizing his team's priority.

“Our players won a lot of trophies last year, but we didn't win a championship,” Stoops said.

Colorado linebacker Jordon Dizon is the top defensive newcomer. He was recruited as an athlete and originally worked at safety. Coaches liked his hard-hitting ability and moved to linebacker. Dizon set the Buffs' freshman record for tackles and has 72 entering Friday's game at Nebraska.

Iowa State's Dan McCarney is The Star's coach of the year for orchestrating one of the greatest turnaround seasons in league history. The Cyclones finished 0-8 last season but are 4-3 in league play, 6-4 overall and can win their first division title with a victory Saturday against Missouri or a Nebraska triumph over Colorado.

“What a difference a year makes,” McCarney said as he addressed reporters on Tuesday. “This time last year I think you guys might have come to see if I was going to cry or crack or melt down or fall apart.”

McCarney gave credit to his players, who vowed not to live through another season like last year.

“These kids drew a line in the sand and put their foot down and said we're not going through this again,” McCarney said. “They said it wasn't right, it wasn't fair to the tradition we built here and it wasn't fair to our fans.”
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Old 11-25-2004, 01:35 AM   #2
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Now thats a Big Johnson we could use to plug some holes!
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Old 11-25-2004, 01:41 AM   #3
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I want Derrick Johnson on the Chiefs for two reasons:

1. Linebackers named Derrick are good mojo for KC.

2. With Johnson at ROLB and Fujita at LOLB, we can bring in Edgerton Hartwell at MLB and have one of the best young, speedy and bright linebacking corps in football for years.

My only concern is that GROB might have tainted his ass.
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Old 11-25-2004, 01:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UserName
I want Derrick Johnson on the Chiefs for two reasons:

1. Linebackers named Derrick are good mojo for KC.

2. With Johnson at ROLB and Fujita at LOLB, we can bring in Edgerton Hartwell at MLB and have one of the best young, speedy and bright linebacking corps in football for years.

My only concern is that GROB might have tainted his ass.
From watching his play this season he hasnt been playing like a grob tainted player at all. He is aggessive and doesnt blow tackles at all.
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Old 11-25-2004, 01:55 AM   #5
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Yeah, I imagine when Gunther sees him on film his eyes light up and he sees a 6'4" missile sent to kill the QB. OLB was the one position that I thought played pretty well in GRob's defense in KC... I'd be more worried if it was a CB or D-lineman.
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Old 11-25-2004, 01:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miles Teg
From watching his play this season he hasnt been playing like a grob tainted player at all. He is aggessive and doesnt blow tackles at all.
Derrick has a shiteload of talent around him at the University of Texas. He won't in KC.
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Old 11-25-2004, 01:56 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by tk13
Yeah, I imagine when Gunther sees him on film his eyes light up and he sees a 6'4" missile sent to kill the QB.
He's a bit lighter than I like at 230.
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Old 11-25-2004, 01:59 AM   #8
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Derrick has a shiteload of talent around him at the University of Texas. He won't in KC.
Yeah thats very true.
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Old 11-25-2004, 02:07 AM   #9
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Derrick has a shiteload of talent around him at the University of Texas. He won't in KC.
I don't know, I've only seen him play a handful of times but you can just tell he stands out as the best player on the field.... he has the chance to be something special I think. Problem is we probably won't end up with a high enough pick to get him....
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Old 11-25-2004, 02:11 AM   #10
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I don't know, I've only seen him play a handful of times but you can just tell he stands out as the best player on the field.... he has the chance to be something special I think. Problem is we probably won't end up with a high enough pick to get him....
Who are the top DE prospects then? A lineup of Allen at RE and some other stud at LE would be awesome for years to come.
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Old 11-25-2004, 02:19 AM   #11
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7. Arizona Cardinals: Mathias Kiwanuka, DE, Boston College

With the state their roster is in the Cardinals can pretty much throw a dart at their depth chart and find a trouble spot. With that said, the defensive line has been a problem for years now so an impact player there is probably the most glaring need. That is where the man they call "Kiwi" comes in. An imposing physical specimen at 6-7 and 261 pounds, Kiwanuka still needs to add some bulk to hold up better against the run but with 4.6 speed and tremendous athleticism he is a terror coming off the edge as a pass rusher and has seemingly unlimited upside. There is no denying that Kiwanuka is far from being a finished product but he simply has too much potential not to be a high to mid first round pick should he choose to come out after his junior season with Boston College. This guy could end up being one of the most feared pass rushers in the NFL for the next decade and would finally give Arizona the premier defensive end they have been searching for since they let Simeon Rice get away.

Green Bay Packers: Erasmus James, DE, Wisconsin

If you have seen the Packers play this year you know that their defense is in dire need of impact players, either along the line or in the secondary. James missed all of 2003 with an injury but has come back in a big way as a senior, dominating opponents and developing into one of the top sack artists in the country. In fact, this guy has helped himself in terms of the draft more than anyone else in the country this season and his stock is soaring at this point. Also, after a long, bitter contract dispute the Packers finally relented and traded disgruntled cornerback Mike McKenzie to New Orleans so a corner like Marlin Jackson is a possibility as well. How exactly trading your best cover corner and one of the top three defensive players on a team already below average on that side of the ball for a 2nd round pick and a backup quarterback helps make them better is beyond me to be honest. One final option could be a quarterback, especially if the great Brett Favre decides to retire.

19. Detroit Lions: David Pollack, DE, Georgia

The Lions and Matt Millen have done a terrific job upgrading the talent on the offensive side of the ball, using recent first round picks on Joey Harrington, Charles Rogers, Roy Williams and Kevin Jones. Now however they must turn their attention to the defense and the most glaring need on that side of the ball appears to be at end. James Hall has really come on this season as a pass rusher but Robert Porcher has retired and Cory Redding might be best suited to play inside at tackle, thus creating an opening on the other side. Pollack has a motor that never stops and he has been one of the most dominant defensive players in the country for the past three seasons. There is some debate as to where he projects draft-wise because he lacks ideal physical tools and measurables, but you can't ignore the production. Some feel he will be a high first rounder while some feel he could drop to the end of the first frame and I think the reality falls somewhere in the middle. One thing is for sure, Matt Millen is sure to love this guy's intensity and drive.

22. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dan Cody, DE, Oklahoma

The Jaguars surprised many when they cut both of their starting defensive ends in Tony Brackens and Hugh Douglas during training camp. An injury to Paul Spicer has left the team with only the likes of Lionel Barnes, Rob Meier, Bobby McCray and Brandon Green at the top of the depth chart. Needless to say this is a position that must be upgraded next offseason. Cody doesn't have the ideal size you look for in a pro defensive end but the Jaguars have shown that they aren't afraid to go with undersized guys who can really rush the passer there and Cody can get after the quarterback about as well as anyone in this draft. If not defensive end I think the other area Jacksonville will look to address is cornerback since they have mostly average players and journeymen there beyond Rashean Mathis, but there is no doubt in my mind that they have to go defensive end here as long as there is any type of value still on the board.
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Old 11-25-2004, 02:21 AM   #12
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Really though you look at a couple mock draft sites and a lot of people seem to think that Derrick Johnson is really the most talented player in this upcoming draft, although the two mock drafts I looked at had him going at 5th and 6th... the website I posted the above from has us taking Marlin Jackson, the CB from Michigan who's probably the #2 CB in the draft.
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Old 11-25-2004, 02:21 AM   #13
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How big is Erasmus?

I'd say I want KC to get either Erasmus, Mathias or Johnson. I would HOPE that one of those guys is on the board.
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Old 11-25-2004, 02:24 AM   #14
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How big is Erasmus?

I'd say I want KC to get either Erasmus, Mathias or Johnson. I would HOPE that one of those guys is on the board.
Erasmus is 6'4", 263....
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Old 11-25-2004, 02:25 AM   #15
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Who are the top DE prospects then? A lineup of Allen at RE and some other stud at LE would be awesome for years to come.
There are some nice FA avalable too. Especailly John Abraham if the bidding for him doesnt get too unreasonable...which it very well could.

Antrel Rolle at CB would be a nice addition in the draft. I usually dont like rookie CB's as much of an impact their first year but he is different.
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