Johnson shines in season opener

Jordan Johnson

Field cornerback Jordan Johnson was given the task of covering Washington State's top receiver Marquess Wilson. Wilson, a first-team all-Pac-12 selection by Phil Steele, averaged a league-high 115.7 yards per game last season. But, against Johnson, he managed just four receptions for 61 yards.

Last season Marquess Wilson set a Washington State single-season record with 83 receptions for 1,388 total yards, and became only the second receiver in WSU history to rack up multiple 1,000-yard seasons. Limiting the 6-foot-4-inch, 185-pound Wilson to just four receptions and 61 yards was quite the accomplishment for sophomore Jordan Johnson.

"Now I know, you know what I'm saying?" said Johnson. "I've always trusted that I could play with anybody. Just getting out there and getting my feet wet will be like a springboard for the next game to come. It was fun and a great experience being out there in front of 65,000 strong. Even having my family and friends watching, it was cool. It was cool."

Johnson credited BYU's scout team for preparing him to face Wilson.

"Kurt Henderson, in whom I respect, runs great routes and is quite fast and whatnot," said Johnson. "He prepared me for that game. He and Dylan Collie really prepared me well for that game."

BYU's defense plays a man-zone defense. However, Johnson revealed that most of his time was spent in a special coverage.

"We played our scheme and we have a press corner and an off corner," Johnson said. "With that off corner, even though we're off, it doesn't mean we're playing a zone concept. I think a majority of the game I was just man up with him and playing what we call an m.o.d. or ‘man on deep,' so on those vertical routes I'm on him with safety help and whatnot. A majority of the time I was playing m.o.d."

While covering Washington State's Wilson, Johnson recorded an interception and returned it 61 yards. He was 10 yards shy of reaching the end zone. Watching the game all the way in Texas was BYU recruit Tre Flowers, who jokingly expressed to Total Blue Sports that Johnson needed to run a few extra wind sprints.

"Yeah, Tre, you know what I'm saying, needs to hurry up and come out here," Johnson said with a laugh. "I'll tell you that. Like I said, I was looking for a little cut back lane but I didn't get it. Next week if I get it, I'm going to bring it back for sure for six."

Prior to playing Washington State, Johnson felt some nerves about his first game as a starter, so he called his mother Pamela to receive some comforting words.

"I talked to my mother before the game," Johnson said with a smile. "She just told me to be humble. I was telling her, ‘Hey mom, this is my first start and I have butterflies.' She was telling me, ‘Do what you do and play your game like it was a practice.' When I stepped out on that field I wasn't even that nervous a little bit. I just saw it as another day. I don't know, I guess playing loose and playing … within myself allowed me to play well that night."

Following the 30-6 victory, he called his mother back.

"It was like 3:00 on the east coast, so she told me, ‘Call me in the morning. I love you,'" Johnson said with a smile. "The next day she said, ‘I knew you would do good.' She told me, ‘Best of luck on your next game.'"

Having played against and beaten some top quality receivers from Washington State, there might be a temptation to overlook Weber State and look towards the upcoming Utah game. However, Johnson said they cannot do that.

"I feel like there's always going to be good people on the team, so you can't take any team lightly. I don't know, I feel as though [Monday] is day one and we came out strong for our first day of practice. Tuesday we're coming out in shells and that's going to be the hardest day of the week."

Much like against Washington State, Johnson feels confident and ready for whatever the Wildcats of Weber State throw at him.

"We haven't done personnel but we have just done a scouting report," Johnson said. "We'll get names and whatnot on [Tuesday] morning or after this interview. Just from watching film, they all seem athletic and they run precise routes. We looked at their route combinations. They're not confusing and they're not hard, but they're ready to compete."

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