Johnson Wraps Up First-Team All-American Honor

He has made a habit out of pulling down running backs trying to escape the backfield. He has made a habit out of pulling down tosses intended for receivers on crossing patterns. Now, junior WLB <B>Derrick Johnson </B>has pulled down Associated Press first-team All-American honors for the No. 5 Texas Longhorns.

Johnson is the first Longhorn linebacker to nab first-team AP hardware in 20 years. Linebacker Jeff Leiding took home first-team honors for the 11-1 Texas team in 1983.

Johnson, UT’s’ first Butkus Award finalist, led the Longhorns with 116 tackles, including 18 tackles for loss (second most in a season among linebackers in Texas history) and three fumble recoveries. His four interceptions in 2003 tied the school record for interceptions by a linebacker and ranks second nationally among others at his position. The 6-4, 230-pounder also recorded nine QB pressures and eight pass breakups during the regular season.

A consensus first-team All-Big 12 selection (2002-2003), Johnson’s career stats include 319 tackles and eight interceptions. Although Johnson has indicated he will likely return for his senior season, the junior has also said he will finalize his decision following the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, set for Dec. 30 in San Diego.

Johnson has already been named first -team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America and the Walter Camp Football Foundation.

Seniors OG Tillman Holloway, CB Nathan Vasher and SE Roy Williams earned spots on the AP third-team squad.

Texas continues bowl preparation Tuesday afternoon at Frank Denius Field.

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