You recognize the name because his father was a transcendent player during his time in the NFL, but Chad Johnson Jr. is making a name for himself in Southern California. He knew he was a special player from the moment he started to play. He says he has been playing since he came out the womb thanks to his parents’ genetics. Despite being just a sophomore in high school, the Venice wide out is sanguine, animated, and passionate. Those characteristics spilled over into the questions he answered. Football is a lifestyle to the young player.
Johnson Jr. goes to Venice as he plays wide out for the Gondoliers. He was starting as a sophomore and while his stats may not be gaudy, 20 catches, 342 receiving yards, five touchdowns, two sacks, and two picks, recruiters are definitely taking note of the 6’3 180-pound pass catcher.
Johnson Jr. runs crisp routes and has quick feet that make cornerbacks freeze at the start of the play. This is big because this quick start makes the rest of the play easy for him as he catches the ball with his hands. He is a fun target to throw it up to as he can go up and snatch the ball out of the air like a rebound in basketball. In addition, the 2020 receiver is a smooth operator in the air as he is fluid. He usually makes the first guy miss after the catch and he might not be a blazer, but he can take it the distance.
The second-generation footballer plays on defense as well. He is naturally a defensive back, but his size makes him versatile. Occasionally, Johnson Jr. will line up as an edge rusher or even play linebacker for the Gondos. He brings a physical element and good tackling to their defense. Overall, the thing that makes him special as a player is his animated personality. Most guys try to fake the funk by acting fired up. With Johnson Jr., it is all authentic. He said football is a sport you can’t play unless you are playing with your heart.
It is no surprise that he has offers from schools like Arizona State, Florida Atlantic, Arizona State, and his father’s alma mater Oregon State. He talked about which schools have jumped out to him during this recruiting process.
“Oregon State is my favorite and has been my favorite since birth,” said Johnson Jr. “Arizona State is also my favorite Antonio Pierce is the GOAT. He’s probably my favorite coach and I strongly like ASU.”
Naturally, people will try to compare Johnson Jr. to his father. However, he talked about the similarities he has to “Ocho Cinco” both on and off the field. He likes to talk and he says that he can back that talk up just like his pops. Also, his feet might not be as quick as his dad’s, but he knows they will be in the near future. Off the field, they both like to spread love to others. While he watches highlights of his dad to help strengthen his game, Johnson Jr. tries to emulate Julio Jones. He admires the fact that he is untouchable.
Venice has a special duo in fellow 2020 quarterback Luca Diamont and Johnson Jr. Diamont started as a freshman in which he accumulated 2,066 passing yards, 315 rushing yards, and scored 25 times. He received offers from North Texas, Indiana, and Utah State. Unfortunately, the duo never played a game together after Johnson Jr. checked into Venice for their sophomore years. That is due to the fact that Diamont was out indefinitely after suffering an injury in a freak accident during the offseason. The Venice wideout talked about his quarterback.
“MY GUY LUCA! Man, our relationship is like no other. We argue and we always overcome it. That’s why I love him because other people will argue and just hold a grudge. Luca and I know we need each other so we brush that s*** off,” exclaimed Johnson Jr.
Johnson Jr. will be a junior this upcoming season so in the offseason he is focusing on lifting weights as well as running track. He plans on stepping up for the Gondoliers as a leader. He believes that he should lead by example and “do the right thing.” Johnson Jr. recognizes that he and Diamont will have a huge say so in how far Venice goes next year so it is important that they set the tone. His goals for the season are to connect with his quarterback often and go to the championship. Remember what Jalen Ramsey said about winning the Super Bowl? That is the response Johnson Jr. had to winning it all.
Every athlete or person has had someone give them some advice that pushed them to be great. Johnson Jr. shed light on some advice passed to him from his mother.
The four-star receiver said, “She always tells me it’s not easy for a black man to make it. Nowadays, we have to go get it so I’m going to go get it.”
Indeed, Johnson Jr. has been getting it as he is a four-star receiver and the 23rd ranked receiver in all of California in the class of 2020. The scholarships should continue to roll in as he continues to dominate in games and in camps over the next two years. Johnson Jr. loves competing and has a certain desire to be great you can feel when talking to him. With that being said, his name will ring more bells than it already does for reasons having less to do with his father and more centered around him.
Photo courtesy of Rah Visualz