Michael Johnson Jr. is not only the starting quarterback of Sheldon High School, the 4 star Penn State commit is also the son of the University of Oregon’s wide receiver coach, Michael Johnson. However, the pressure of growing up under a coach never stifled his growth.
"I'd say it's more blessing now, I use to think it was a little bit of a curse,” Johnson Jr. said. “I think of it as a blessing like you get a lot of intellect, you get a lot of knowledge that he would have that the average kid wouldn't have and I'm thankful for that.”
Along with the pressure of having a coach as a father comes the possibility of continuously moving across the country. The family lived in Corvallis, San Diego, Atlanta, Baltimore, and San Jose before making the trip to Oregon two years ago.
"I'm really comfortable in my own skin, I feel like I can get along with a lot of different backgrounds, a lot of different types of people, so I think that's one thing that moving around has helped me,” Johnson Jr. said. “It’s made me really social, cause like you have to interact with people if you're going to go somewhere new or you're just going kind of be lonely so I think that's what it's really made me most, made me really social."
Before the Johnson’s moved to Oregon, he played quarterback at The King’s Academy High School in Sunnyvale, California. During his playing career there, Michael’s father was the head coach.
"He never really made me be perfect. It was ok to make mistakes around him. He understood that those were going to come,” He said. “I was a young guy, so I mean I never really felt the need that I had to be perfect cause I'm playing for my dad or have to have a great game or things like that."
His transition to Oregon has been seamless, and it has shown on the field. Michael has led the Fighting Irish to a 7-2 record and a 6A Special District 7 title. From behind center he’s emulated the things he’s learned from his dad, who also played quarterback, while adding a lot of his own style.
“I think that there's certain things, like I think I'm a better runner than he was and he'll tell you that, but other than that. We always have these conversations all the time, he'll say you were more athletic, but I was,” he said. “He’d say he was a better, bigger competitor or something and we always get in arguments over it and stuff like that. But I think that's where I really taken after him a lot, my competitive nature."
But regardless of the similarities and differences, the two will forever cherish their father and son connection bonded by the game of football.
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