SAVANNAH, Ga. (BVM) — Don Johnson is just a high school freshman, but he has emerged as one of the most dynamic running backs in the country. For those in the Savannah area, it was evident that he would be special early on.
The legend began during a little league game where Johnson was on the defensive side of the ball.
There was a fumble on the play and Johnson was able to scoop it up and take it down the sideline. With only one man to beat, the opposing player dove at Johnson’s legs, but all they could come up with was a shoe. With every stride alternating between shoe and sock, he brought it all the way to the end zone and has not stopped running since.
Now the heartbeat of the offense at Calvary Day School, he has already picked up 15 offers from Power 5 programs, meeting some of the biggest names in college football including Nick Saban and Kirby Smart.
— Donovan Johnson (@4k_Don) September 27, 2021
“It’s cool to talk to all of these coaches and get to know them on a different level,” Johnson said. “It’s cool to talk with them and build relationships with them.”
A lot of the hype behind the 6-foot-1, 190 pound playmaker comes after a dominant freshman season where he tallied up 1,336 total yards along with 10 touchdowns.
Johnson’s early success can partly be attributed to the help of his father, Derrick, who played quarterback at The Citadel in the mid-1990s. Once Don’s father knew his son was committed to playing football long term, he did his best to give Don the opportunity to achieve any possible goal he set.
“We just took it seriously,” Don said. “Having fun, but also looking at it from a business standpoint. We’d go out there and train all day. We’d put our blood, sweat and tears into it.”
Following his first year of high school ball, Johnson was one of 70 athletes invited to play in the Football University Freshman All-American Bowl. Some of the game’s alumni include the likes of Christian McCaffrey, Trevor Lawrence and Sony Michel before they became household names.
Johnson got to meet some of the other big recruits in his class, spurring connections with players that he will see when he reaches the upper levels of football.
“It was really good playing with those boys,” Don said. “Just having competition and building a long-term relationship with these boys for the next few years.”
Following the game, Johnson was the first player to be invited to the 2025 NBC All-American Bowl.
Extremely blessed to receive an invite and to be committed to the 2025 All-American Bowl!!🔥🔥@ErikRichardsUSA @Mansell247 @stevequinnFBU @Rivals @247Sports @211401Derrick @Cavalier_Sports @xixnyne @Flashdavis_51 @AABonNBC @FBUAllAmerican @FBUcamp pic.twitter.com/MvmVme9iW9
— Donovan Johnson (@4k_Don) December 22, 2021
“I’ve been growing up watching this game, wishing I could play in it,” Don said. “Now that I’ve been invited to it is just a blessing.”
Despite his impressive resume, Johnson continues to have a chip on his shoulder. Every ounce of recognition he receives is just another reason to keep on pushing.
“It makes me want to strive further and do better,” Don said. “All the accolades I get, I look at them, but at the same time, it makes me hungrier. I have to humble myself down sometimes into working harder. When I achieve these things, let’s go ahead and move on to the next thing I have to accomplish or get better at.”