Kevin Johnson can boast a lot of titles.
Quarterback, defensive back, drum major, student-athlete — just to name a few.
You can add pioneer to that list now.
On Wednesday, Johnson became the first football player from Sophie B. Wright to sign a letter of intent on national signing day in the school’s nine-year existence.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound multisport athlete raised the bar for the Uptown school. Johnson embodies a culture change that Del Lee-Collins has implemented in his first year as coach.
“It’s a big accomplishment,” Lee-Collins said. “There’s still a lot of work to be done around here to change the culture, and Kevin is a big part of that. He’s been a leader throughout the year, and he continues to be a leader in the building. He’s really set the example for what we’re striving to become.”
“It’s going to be monumental for the program moving forward,” athletic director Michael Bradley said. “For the young guys to see one of their own sign a scholarship and go onto play at the next level – that’s a catalyst to help us move forward.”
Johnson spent the 2015 season as Wright’s quarterback and free safety, and the latter will be his ticket to Nicholls State.
While Nicholls was the only reported offer, Johnson received interest from UTEP, Southern, Grambling and West Virginia.
Ultimately, a visit to Thibodaux solidified his future.
“I got a lot of looks here and there, and I was talking to a lot of coaches, but Nicholls sold me,” Johnson said. “They got me a good offer, and it was a good fit for me.”
Johnson joins a high volume of New Orleans area prospects that are heading to Nicholls, including Rummel quarterback Chase Fourcade and guard Joe Oliver, St. Charles tackle Tyrin Arceneaux and De La Salle receiver Christian Booker.
Like the aforementioned prospects who were in the spotlight with premier New Orleans football programs, Johnson’s coach — a defensive back guru — believes Johnson has a high ceiling at the collegiate level.
“He made some great strides through the year,” said Lee-Collins, who has groomed former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu and Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis, among many others. “He looked pretty well coming down the alley and making tackles, as well as in coverage. He proved himself to be efficient back there.”
Bradley guaranteed that Johnson’s teammates will be at John L. Guidry Stadium a handful of times to watch the future Wright alum in action.
After all, Johnson has surfaced as the benchmark for the football players at the school.
“Some of these young guys want to carry the torch,” Lee-Collins said. “A seed has been planted. They’ll see it flourish (on signing day). It’s important for them to see it because we always talk about it, and now it’s a culmination for them.”