If you’re an opposing offense, Westgate’s De'Myrion Johnson is the stuff of nightmares.
Standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing nearly 300 pounds, Johnson is one of the best defensive ends in the state.
Once you meet him off the field, however, you’ll realize that behind all of that power and aggression is a humble, hard-working athlete who always finds the time to crack a joke.
“I’m a really nice guy, a hardworking guy,” Johnson said. “I work for everything. I’m not selfish, I put others before me. It’s all about the team, because I know the team is bigger than me. I’m a fun guy, I like to joke around a lot. When we step inside the white I know it’s business, but outside I’m all jokes.”
Johnson has been a lineman since his earliest playing days, going both ways on his pee-wee teams but making the transition to defense-only when he hit high school.
“In high school I made the transition to just defense because they felt that was where I was better and where they needed me the most,” Johnson explained. “I feel like I’m more effective on the d-line, I can help stuff the run. I’m more of a run guy.”
Stuffing the run is exactly what he does best.
Johnson leads an experienced defensive line that has come out on top against some of the best offenses in the state so far. The Tigers made a few mistakes earlier in the season, and dropped a few games that the team would love to have back, but Johnson said that those losses helped to bring the team together.
“We made mistakes early in the season but I think we needed that for an eye-opener," Johnson said. "It’s better to get them early than in the playoffs. It made us come together and bond more as a team.”
Up next for Westgate is the No. 2 seed in Non-Select Division I, Neville. Johnson said that he isn’t afraid of the Tigers from Monroe.
“It’s a big game,” he said. “There’s going to be a hostile environment. We were supposed to see them last year, but this year they can’t run from us. They’ve got to come through us this year. It’s going to be a good game, one to watch.”
As a junior, Johnson still has another year with Westgate, but he is already attracting a lot of attention from teams at the next level. Johnson said that, wherever he ends up, he will continue to do big things.
“I want to win state, become an All-American and get to the next level of competition,” Johnson said. “I know I’ll be playing at the next level. Whatever school fits me the best, that’s where I’ll go. I’m going to make an impact wherever I go. Every school is showing interest right now.”
It’s not just about making it on a college team for Johnson. He also wants to use his experiences to give back to the community when his playing career comes to an end.
“I want to major in sports management so I can come back and do something that I love to do, coach and give knowledge back to the youth,” he added.