With an undefeated start to the season, the Cobber football team is striving towards greatness and senior captain Chad Johnson has been an instrumental part of the 3-0 start. The hot-start has put Johnson within two touchdowns of tying the Concordia football record for most all-time career touchdowns.
Johnson is currently third on the all-time touchdown list with 32, trailing current head coach Terry Horan, who had 33 touchdowns, and 2012 graduate Brett Baune, who holds the record with 34 touchdowns.
“It’s pretty surreal,” Johnson said. “To be in the same category as some of the greats is truly honoring.”
Head coach Horan is not surprised with the level of play Johnson has achieved.
“His numbers are no surprise,” Horan said. “He’s a physical guy with great athleticism. He gets a lot of help from our offensive line and has great field awareness and vision.”
So far this season, Johnson, who has picked up the nickname “The Bus Driver”, has run for 471 yards and seven touchdowns on just 59 carries. His numbers have him atop the MIAC in rushing yards, rushing yards per game, yards per carry, and touchdowns.
“Chad is a really great athlete,” Horan said. “He’s a big part of our offense. He’s been getting minutes since freshman year so he has great experience and understands what we’re asking of him.”
Johnson appeared in all 10 games as a freshman, contributing mostly on special teams while adding one touchdown on 11 carries. “The Bus Driver” stepped into a featured role on offense the very next season, scoring 10 touchdowns as a sophomore and 14 as a junior.
It was during his freshman campaign that Johnson had to round out his game and embrace a different role. Co-offensive coordinator and fullback coach Aaron Willits coached him through this transition.
“Coming from high school where Chad had the ball every play, we had to coach him through what to do without the ball,” Willits said. “He’s become a great blocker and does a lot of things for us without the ball.”
While Johnson grew into a player who can impact the game without the ball, his ability to make plays with the ball did not go unnoticed by the coaching staff.
“Chad started freshman year at the slotback, and after we graduated our fullbacks we decided he was the guy to have at the fullback position,” Willits said. “It’s a place we can have him get the most touches on the ball.”
Johnson came to Concordia ready to grow as a player and a teammate.
“My freshman year was a really good team of guys who I learned a lot from,” Johnson said. “After that I knew I would have to put some weight on to get more physically game ready to accomplish what I wanted at the fullback position.”
Johnson brought the work ethic every coach dreams of in an athlete.
“He’s the hardest working kid I’ve seen during my time here,” Willits said. “He finishes every drill and goes hard every play. Every coach looks for someone that will go out there and do everything you ask, and he’s that player.”
It’s that work ethic that has led Johnson to be a key playmaker for the Cobber football team. Going from around four carries a game freshman year at slotback, Johnson is averaging just under 20 carries a game as a senior fullback.
“We want our fullback to be our best player,” Willits said. “They get the most touches and have the opportunity to impact the game, and that’s what Chad does for us and that’s what Baune did for us, too.”
After a bye week, the Cobber football team heads into Homecoming Weekend prepared to take on Gustavus Adolphus College, kickoff at 1:00 p.m.
Abby is a junior majoring in Business with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in English Writing. She enjoys attending sporting events, making bets, and winning. This is her first year on the Concordian team!