By MIKE KEENEY
Alexander Johnson is a parent and coachs dream.
The 5-11, 190-pound senior excels in the classroom and on the football field.
In the classroom, Johnson is all business. He ranks seventh in his class of 425 seniors and has drawn interest from Ivy League schools Harvard and Dartmouth, two of the most prestigious colleges in the nation.
In addition to excelling the classroom, Johnson serves as the senior class vice-president, is a member of the National Honor Society and serves as a math tutor to fellow MacArthur students.
When it comes to athletics, Johnson is at the top of his class there as well. He was a three-year starter at linebacker for Jerry Drones Generals and he completed his senior season in outstanding fashion as he recorded an eye-opening 165 tackles (42 unassisted, 123 assisted tackles) as he helped lead the Generals to an 8-3 season and their first playoff appearance since 1995. In addition to averaging 16 tackles per game, he also had 25 tackles for loss, five sacks, broke up four passes and caused three fumbles.
Johnsons stellar senior season earned him the Northeast News Defensive Player of the Year honors. The District 18-5A coaches also honored him as they voted him the leagues Most Valuable Defensive Player.
He made so many plays for us this year, said Drones, who knows a thing or two about playing defense having started at defensive end for three consecutive years (1967-69) at the University of Houston. Alexander was a solid player for us for three straight years and were going to miss him. Hes an outstanding young man.
Johnson has come a long ways in a short time, Drones said. As a freshman, he played on the B team, but within a year he was starting as a sophomore on the varsity thanks to his work ethic and athleticism.
We found out early on that Alexander had a knack for finding the football ball and reading keys and attacking the ball carrier, Drones said. We started him on the outside as a sophomore then moved him inside his junior year and things worked out well for him. This year he did a better job of meeting them (the ball carrier) at the line, or behind the line of scrimmage.
Drones added that Johnson improved each season and saved his best for his final year as a General. Finally, others aside from Drones and his staff noticed his outstanding play.
He was good as a junior and led us in tackles, but the strange thing was that he wasnt named first or second team all-district. We were sort of disappointed because we felt he played very well as a junior, but he made up for it this year with an outstanding senior season and were thankful that the rest of the coaches in our district realized that as well.
The MacArthur head coach added that Johnson put in the work to make himself the player he is today. Unlike his teammates, Johnson did not have an athletic period because that would have kept him from pursuing upper level courses, so while his buddies were lifting weights and getting stronger, Johnson was putting his work in the classroom. He had to lift on his own time, but he found the time to do so to help his team.
He has a strong work ethic, Drones said. He didnt lift with the other guys, but he got his work in.
Drones added Johnson led by example and the veteran head coach said he will sorely miss him next year.
We were fortunate to have him. He was one of our leaders and theres no doubt well miss having him around, but hes got a lot going for him and I think were going to hear a lot about Alexander in the future.