March 27, 2023

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Diamond in the Rough: Kendall Johnson

Kendall Johnson is a class of 2025 outside-linebacker out of Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The 6’2″, 180-pound senior is a three-star player with a GPA of 3.9 who has recently committed to the Duke Blue Devils over universities like Rutgers and Bowling Green. After starting all of last year, Johnson balled out and the Quince Orchard Cougars expect him to be a major factor again this year. This week, I had the honor to talk to Kendall Johnson, and here’s how it went.

Q: Why do you play the game?
“I love the game. I’ve seen what it has done for other people, outside of just having fun… I’ve seen how it’s helped other people, and I see how it can help me personally. But when it comes down to it, I just love the game.”
Q: How do you balance sports with your other responsibilities?
“Well, it’s all about time management. For me… over the summer, it’s been football and planning everything else around that. Knowing when to schedule ahead, everything I have to do, to take care of… Im sure when school starts, it’s going to get a little bit more challenging, but it’s just planning ahead, really.”
Q: Where do you see football going in your life?
“I see me playing football in college. [I’m committed to Duke, so] I’ll definitely be doing that. I see that just setting up everything else in my life. I’ve got the tools to succeed. Because I love the game, I want to go all the way. Every kid’s teams is to go to the NFL. I’m 100% committeed and 100% believe in myself. I’m confident that I can make it to the big leagues and I can do a lot with football, past college.”
Q: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned playing football?
“Simply just discipline. In the game, you’ve got to be disciplined, don’t take any plays off. Just stay focused – on your assignment, on your job. I feel like that applies to everything that there is in life, because if you’re in something, you need to be focused and disciplined when it comes down to it.”
Q: How are you looking to improve your game?
“My past seasons, I’ve always been athletic, strong pass-rush, all that… but I feel like I’ve never been much of a dominant player. But this year I have a completely different mindset. It’s senior year obviously, so I’m here to ball out and have fun with it but also just be a dominant player on the field. That’s what I’m really looking to improve on this year, and to be someone the other team really doesn’t want to play against.”
Q: How do you stay trained and in football-shape in the offseason?
“I’m going to start going to my trainer [during the season]. I’ve always gone to him over the summer and all that, but in season I’ll go to [him] and do some strength work, recovery work, all types of good stuff there.”
Q: What is something college coaches (especially at Duke) should know about you?
“I feel like I’m very accountable. I can be accounted on to be healthy, hard-working, consistent, on time, just do all the things outside of being a talented athlete. Everything outside of that you can count on me doing. Even the basic stuff.”

You can watch his highlights here.

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College Coach, High School Coach, Athlete, Fan

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