"Of course, when you watch films, you always enjoy the pancake blocks. But I get just as much satisfaction when my teammates succeed as well. I know it's a cliché, but for me, it's all about the team."
Because he didn't play football in high school, Johnson knew when he put on the pads at Gavilan that he had to play catch up. "Coach Lango always says that to be a successful student athlete, you have to conquer the three-pronged monster: work hard in the classroom, on the football field, and in the weight room."
And Johnson is doing just that. This criminal justice major excels academically, carrying a lofty 3.98 GPA and an armload of scholastic honors. He's also a terror on the field, earning All-Conference honors as a freshman and landing on the 2006 NorCal All-Combine team. If there's one area he'd like to improve, it's pumping iron. "I need to push myself in the weight room every day. I fractured my elbow in the first game last year, and even though I played through it and rehabbed it during the second half of the season, that limited the amount of upper-body training I could do. I've been working the entire off-season to get my strength back, and now I'm ready to go."
Johnson has been inspired by D'Brickashaw Ferguson, the fourth overall player in last year's NFL draft. "He's not the biggest lineman on the field and neither am I, but he knows how to use his skills. He was excellent in last year's Senior Bowl, and on a reverse play in a Jets preseason game, he took out two defenders. That's the kind of player I am, and that's the kind of player I want to continue to be."
With 3 years left ot play 2 at the next level, Johnson's not sure where he'll end up after graduating in December. "Being from Texas, I like warm weather, but I'll play for anyone who wants me. As a JC transfer, I know my time is limited. All I need is the opportunity to play." He's been recruited by Arizona State, Oregon State, and a host of other major programs. He recently took an unofficial visit to Nevada-Reno, and has had considerable interest from Utah, Tulsa, UC-Davis, and Missouri. "If I go to the Pac-10, I'll probably get moved to guard. If not, I'll likely stay at tackle."
For fun, Johnson loves to fish or just hangout with friends, but whatever he's doing, he's competitive. "Whether it's football or lawn darts, I want to win and I want to win bad."
He runs a 5.22 in the 40 and loves to pull, so if you line up against Gavilan College and Clayton Johnson, make sure your head's on a swivel. "I'm agile and I consider myself an all-around athlete. I don't mind sacrificing my body, and I'm not on the field to make friends."
Lawn darts anyone?