Jeremy Johnson finds stability after ‘up and downs’ in turbulent playing career

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – It hasn’t been long since Jeremy Johnson began his coaching stint over at Montgomery Catholic.

It’s been almost a month with the Knights as the running backs coach, and he is continuing to learn every day.

“It’s a different environment for me, but it’s been great. I’m thankful. I wouldn’t wanna be [any] where else right now as I speak,” said Johnson. “I’m thankful to coach Kirk [Johnson] for giving me the opportunity to even be here.”

Johnson knows the gridiron pretty well. Coming out of Carver-Montgomery High School, Johnson was a four-star ranked quarterback prospect and rated as the No. 9 quarterback in the state of Alabama in the early 2010s. He’s still learning the world of coaching, but it’s something he’s diving into head first.

“Three years ago, I was the head football coach at Southlawn Middle. And once I started doing that and pouring my all into that and just the excitement I got out of coaching,” he said.

Johnson said seeing the impact he could have let him know that coaching was the thing for him.

“That gave me that buzz, gave me that mentality of, ‘This is what I wanna do. This is what I’m supposed to do for my city,’” he said.

Johnson, proud to call Montgomery home, knew that coaching could be how he could impact the next generation.

“I just feel like coaching is my calling, 100 percent,” he said. “And I’m glad that I learned that and figured it out after I got done playing ball.”

Johnson served as the head coach of the Southlawn Middle School football team for two seasons before making the jump to the high school ranks. He spent the 2021 season coaching at his alma mater before joining Kirk Johnson’s staff at Montgomery Catholic this year.

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He says coaching at Carver was a great moment not only for himself but “for the community as well and those kids as well.” Johnson says his main goal is to give his time back to the kids of Montgomery, “and just showing them a guide and giving them an opportunity to let them know it can be done.”

As Alabama’s Mr. Football in 2012, Johnson went on to play collegiately at Auburn, but in four years, Johnson only surpassed 1,000 passing yards as well as 10 passing touchdowns just once. He would go undrafted out of Auburn and was invited to New York Giants rookie minicamp as a tryout player. He’s bounced around several professional football leagues over the last five years.

“A lot of ups, a lot of downs, for sure more down than up, but that’s life,” said Johnson. “I wouldn’t want my life to go any other way but the way it had become so that I could become the man that I am today.”

Now Johnson continues to gain experience in the coaching world, with the hopes of one day becoming a head coach again.

“Every single day I wake up, that’s what I like to be known by. It’s one of my biggest goals outside of winning a state championship in football,” he said. “Being a head coach is one of my biggest goals. It would mean the world to me…I’m made for the job. I feel like my presence, my knowledge and what I been through, my story itself personally outside of football, it can help anybody to dream and dream big.”

As running backs coach at Catholic, Johnson works with Auburn commit Jeremiah Cobb every day. The Knights opened the 2022 season with a 42-21 win over McGill-Toolen.

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