Denver Johnson wanted to be a quarterback when he was younger.
There was a slight problem with that desire — Johnson couldn’t throw well.
But he was already taller than other players, so he was moved to tight end before becoming a receiver.
It was a decision the Casady receiver looks back on fondly.
“My body,” Johnson says while laughing about why he played receiver. “I didn’t have anything else.”
Johnson has certainly blossomed, becoming a 6-foot-3 target verbally committed to Tulsa and ranked No. 23 on The Oklahoman’s Super 30.
Last season, he caught 39 passes for 506 yards and five touchdowns in a pass-first offense.
“I love being able to compete, the trash talk with DBs and being able to make plays,” Johnson said. “When it comes down to it, we’re going to throw it. I just like to be that guy we’re going to throw it to and help my team.”
This season, he’s hoping his numbers improve as he works on improving his speed.
He was clocked at a 4.72 40-yard last season, but already has that down to a 4.59 as he begins easing doubts from recruiters.
“He’s been focusing on that and getting quicker every day as quick as he can,” Casady assistant coach Gabe Gerard said. “I watched his workout at Tulsa camp and he looked really quick to me. Making the cuts and everything the coaches wanted him to do, he was doing it and doing it really, really well compared to the other kids that were there working out as well.”
Johnson credits the improvement to playing basketball and doing speed training.
“My goal by the end of the summer is to be down to a low 4.5, but when people see this season my speed is not a problem,” he said.
If so, Casady could be very dangerous on offense with Westmoore transfer Colin Morris — who just picked up an Air Force offer — Gary Woods II at running back, T’Quan Wallace at quarterback and highly recruited Josh Wariboko-Alali on the offensive line.
Johnson knows the expectations are higher than usual this season, too.
“All we’ve done so far, all the recruitment, all of the D-I players won’t mean anything if we don’t win,” he said.
The Oklahoman’s Super 30
Name: Denver Johnson
Position: Wide receiver
Committed to: Tulsa (June 8, 2014)