Position: Wide Receiver
Size: 5-10, 175
High School: FB Hightower (TX)
2011 review: After coming off an eye-opening sophomore season capped off by a 152-yard effort in the Armed Forces Bowl, Johnson's role was expected to significantly increase in 2011 with the departure of leading receiver Aldrick Robinson and the maturing of then starter Kyle Padron. Although Padron didn't pan out as expected, Johnson certainly did not disappoint.
In his junior campaign Johnson produced 79 receptions for 1,188 yards; both career highs. He proved to be quarterback J.J. McDermotts's most reliable weapon especially when teammate Cole Beasley suffered from a MCL sprain mid-season. Johnson recorded six 100-yard games with the biggest coming against SMU's rival TCU. With Beasley sidelined, Johnson had a stellar performance nabbing 12 passes for 152-yards and two touchdowns leading the Mustangs to a 40-33 overtime victory.
With eight touchdowns and an average of 14.8 yards a grab, Johnson earned 1st team All-C-USA honors in 2011. Johnson was also named the most valuable player of the BBVA Compass Bowl catching seven passes for 120 yards and a score.
2011 grade: A-
2012 outlook: Johnson will enter his senior season as the clear number one receiver with Beasley's departure to the NFL. Together, the two of them grabbed 165 balls. With Beasley and Terrance Wilkerson gone, Johnson's numbers could escalate even higher in his final season.
Starting at quarterback on the Hilltop this year will be former 5-star recruit and Texas Longhorn signal caller Garrett Gilbert. If Gilbert turns out to be anything close to what he was projected out of high school, there will be plenty of balls to be spread around in June Jones' famous run-and-shoot offense. That means there should be plenty thrown to No. 3.
Johnson, who was named to Dave Campbell's Texas Football All-Texas Team, is easily the most comfortable receiver in June Jones' offense and should develop a rapport with Gilbert quite quickly. If Zach Line can continue to put up big numbers on the ground it will open up the play action where Johnson has excelled. Barring any injuries, Johnson could be in for a career year, which could ultimately improve his draft stock.
Player Profile Series: WR Darius Johnson
Pony Stampede Top Stories
Game Preview: SMU vs. CSU BakersfieldPony Stampede previews SMU's home matchup against CSU Bakersfield on Friday in Moody Coliseum at 7 pm CT.
Pony StampedeYesterday at 9:15 AM
The Hilltop Review: December 2Come inside another edition of the Pony Stampede Hilltop Review with the latest on two SMU commits and a 2019 target.
Pony StampedeYesterday at 3:00 AM
Biggest Area of Improvement for SMUThe Pony Stampede staff breaks down where SMU's key areas of needed improvement are by the time the team opens the 2017 season.
Pony StampedeThursday at 1:06 PM
SMU Football Offensive GradebookBilly takes a look at SMU's performance on offense this season and hands out grades following another season of improvement for the Mustangs.
Pony StampedeThursday at 6:45 AM