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Johnson on Hendricks awards list
Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket defensive end Michael Johnson talks to a youngster during the Cedric Dickerson LCRD football camp July 17-19. This week Johnson was placed on the watch list for the Ted Hendricks award. - photo by Photo by Patty Leon/Coastal Courier
ATLANTA — Georgia Tech senior Michael Johnson is one of 36 student-athletes named to the watch list for the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation's top defensive end.
Johnson, who was in Hinesville last weekend helping his cousin Cedric Dickerson run a football camp for the LCRD, is also being touted as a possible high pick for the 2009 NFL draft.
"Those projections are nice, but there merely projections," he said. "We still have to go out and be successful week in and week out. I feel no extra pressure, because I like playing the game. It's second nature to me. My main focus is to go out and win every game. The other stuff will take care of itself."
The Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award is named in honor of college football's first three-time first-team All-American. As a defensive end at the University of Miami, Hendricks used his agility, height and reach to block passes and kicks, force interceptions and pressure quarterbacks and running backs. He roamed the front line, read plays and blitzed on impulse, transforming the way the defensive end position was played. His professional career spanned 15 years and 215 consecutive games. It included four Super Bowl victories, eight Pro Bowl selections and inductions into the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.
Johnson saw action in all 13 games last season. He forced three fumbles, tying for seventh in the ACC and 55th nationally. Johnson also had 21 tackles, including 11 solos, 6 tackles for loss and 4 sacks. Johnson led the team with four quarterback hurries and blocked kicks with two. For his career he has 61 tackles (41 solo) in 36 games. Johnson also has 13 tackles-for-loss, 10 sacks, seven forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and four pass break-ups. Earlier this summer, he was named preseason second-team All-American by Phil Steele.
But Johnson doesn't just go out and play for an award he plays for the love of the game.
"The only 'personal' goals I set for myself are the ones that I have every year," he said. "The number one thing is to keep God first in my life in everything I do. After that, I just try to increase my size, speed and strength. I want to go out and be the best that I can be every snap."
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