Athlete of the Week: Austin Johnson, Roosevelt High School
Failure is frightening. It's a force strong enough to impose upon the most talented people and stop them in their tracks. But failure can also be a powerful motivator.
Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.
Ludwig van Beethoven's teachers saw him as hopeless.
Walt Disney was fired from his position at the Kansas City Star for a lack of good ideas and imagination.
Austin Johnson, a senior wide receiver from Roosevelt High School, knows just how strong both failure and success can be as motivators, and he uses them everyday to become a better football player, athlete and person.
"The more and more success I have, the more motivated I am," Johnson said. "At the same time, failure motivates me as well because if I fail at something, I want to keep getting better."
Austin Johnson is this week's Athlete of the Week.
But football goes well beyond success and failure. Before even stepping onto the field, every second of practice and off-field work goes a long way to producing when actually on the field. Plus, it's always nice to have some help.
"Our strength and conditioning coach, Jordan [Soukup], was awesome and helped us all out a lot," Johnson said. "Obviously, I have two great wide receiver coaches in Ryan Rank and Joey Nelson. Everyday in practice, I'd just work on perfecting my craft as a wide receiver with those two guys. And Kim Nelson is obviously an awesome coach to have. He just draws the best out of every player."
Hard work is great, but without chemistry, a football team is doomed to fail on both the team and individual levels. Relationships make up football's foundational core, and relationships define who you are and what kind of player you'll be.
So when a star wide receiver like Johnson is close friends with his starting quarterback, the on-field chemistry and success should come with little surprise.
"Playing with my best friend, Torren Devericks, at quarterback and seeing how well he did in his only year starting high school football was pretty awesome, and I was pretty happy to be a part of that," Johnson said. "And we broke a lot of records this year on offense.
Most notable among those Roosevelt broken records include passing yards in a season (3,120) and game (402) and several other receiving records. Johnson hauled in the second-most receptions in Roosevelt history with 61 catches.
Johnson started to recognize his capability as a freshman. It was after his first season at Roosevelt where he began to feel a niche and everything started clicking.
"After my freshman year, I grew a little bit and I felt like I was getting better as a player," Johnson said. "Once I grew, I got faster and matured...that's when I knew I could be pretty good if I wanted to be."
The improvement was evident as Johnson became a crafty contributor on one of the best offenses in Roosevelt football history.
Johnson hopes to continue his football career after graduating from Roosevelt in 2017. Beyond the gridiron, Johnson intends to study physical therapy.
Congratulations to Austin Johnson, this week's Athlete of the Week.