MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Wide receiver Manny Johnson appears rather unassuming. Especially when compared to boisterous personalities on the Oklahoma team like Nic Harris and Gerald McCoy.
But don’t be fooled. Johnson, OU’s quiet leader, is a big reason why the Sooners will be playing for the BCS National Championship come Thursday. "Very modest, never brags,” said freshman wide receiver Ryan Broyles. "He’s a great competitor and a great teacher. "Really a quiet leader, and those are the guys you want on your team.” No player on the Sooner roster has seen more college games than Johnson, who’s been part of OU’s receiving rotation since stepping on the field as a true freshman in 2005 against TCU. Despite being a four-year starter, Johnson has been overshadowed by other Sooner pass-catchers like Malcolm Kelly, Juaquin Iglesias and Jermaine Gresham. But never has he clamored for the ball or complained about his role. Instead, quietly, he’s filled his role, whether that’s been as a slot receiver or as a wideout. "You can’t get to the national championship without having a lot of guys like Manny,” said assistant offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Jay Norvell. "When you’re senior and you’ve been through the ups and downs, you’ve been tempered. "Manny has wanted to make this a special year.