The fact that the Steelers are using a fullback at all is normally newsworthy, but when that fullback can also play tight end, special teams and be a red zone threat you start wondering where this player came from. Today we tell you.
Who is Will Johnson?
From a small town, south of Dayton, OH, Johnson played his high school football for Centerville High School. Johnson played both sides of the ball in high school, playing as a running back on offense and linebacker on the defensive side of the ball. Linebacker was the position that he got the most recognition, not running back. That did not keep West Virginia head football coach at the time Rich Rodriguez from recruiting Johnson to play in his high-powered running offense. West Virginia was one of only 4 schools to offer him a scholarship and the only school to recruit him on offense. That was the difference as Johnson spent the next 4 years in Morgantown. Johnson played for West Virginia from day one, playing in 10 games as a true freshman. He was never a star in the WVU offense, but was able to always find the field. By the end of his college career, Johnson played in 45 games, including every game his junior and senior year. At the end of his college career, Johnson had exactly zero interest from NFL teams, going undrafted and unsigned. That forced to Johnson to keep up his training while getting 3 part-time jobs in hopes of playing in the NFL would still happen.
How did he become a Steeler?
After going a full year out of football, Johnson went back to West Virginia for their pro-day this past March. There, he impressed Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert enough to get them to sign him. On March 21, 2012, Johnson officially signed and joined the Pittsburgh Steelers. After some preseason injuries to other fullbacks on the roster Johnson found himself in position to be the top guy leading the way for the Steelers running game.
His career as a Steeler?
Johnson started his first career NFL in the Steelers opener in Denver earlier this season. In that game, he had his first NFL reception on a 12 yard pass that went for a 1st down. One week later he had a 26 yard reception, which is his career long. He has since played in every game this year for the Steelers and scored his first NFL touchdown in last week’s 27-12 win against the Washington Redskins.