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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Caleb Johnson, LB, Houston Baptist

Caleb Johnson
Caleb Johnson is a great versatile LB at Houston Baptist University. He had 104 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, and 6 sacks in 2019. He recently told his story to Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: Caleb Johnson
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 225 lbs
  • Position: LB
  • College: Houston Baptist University
  • Twitter: @caleb2raw

Tell us about your university/college. Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?

I am a member of the American Marketing Association as well as being a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.

How did you end up at Houston Baptist?

I was highly under recruited out of high school; Coach Charlie Camp had recruited me out of San Diego the summer after my senior year. He actually offered me on my birthday funny enough, and I committed on that same phone call. I was ready to call some place home. 

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

Easily my leadership. I understand the nuances of different people, how to talk to them, push them, and I realize that most things can be done by example, so in turn, it pushes me to further be that example. In a way, they make me better than I make them. 

What kind of role do you see yourself in on a team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?

I’m a ball player. Good leaders always know how to be led, so I would come in with open ears and heart ready to learn and get better and contribute in any way. I believe my role is as an outside linebacker and/or dime backer. Playing safety in highschool, I have excellent cover skills and hip mechanics, which is something I pride myself on playing linebacker; I have the feet of a defensive back. Like I said, I’m a ball player, and I’m not afraid of meeting pulling guards and running backs in the hole. In fact, it might be my favorite part of the game. 

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?

Best player- I would say Aaron Jones when we played UTEP his last year. 

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?

A better question is which one of my teammates doesn’t. I see them all push themselves day in and day out in the weight room and on the field. It’s really a privilege to be a part of this team because of them alone. One guy that always stands out regardless is my fellow backer, Brennan Young; that’s my savage right there. 

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.

In a military family, we moved every three or so years, so adjusting to all that throughout my life was always difficult, but in the end, it taught me discipline and self reliance- two traits that help make up who I am now. 

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?

I believe I’m most proud of my faith, on how I pursue God and how it is seen in my life and in how I treat others. My biggest achievement would be my teammates voting me as the Garrett Dolan Leadership Award winner this past year; it was a moment that I will hold with me forever, especially because of the leader that it takes its name after. 

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.

It was third down I believe. I had a simple drop, weaved a back pedal as my feet worked busy under my hips. Our defensive line clashed with UTEP’s offensive line. I could hear their grunts, the crowd screaming, my breath huffing, as the quarterback stepped up from the dangerous edge rush of Andre Walker and was forced to sling it into the slant. But I was waiting for it. I darted into the play and took it about 28 yards into the endzone. Pick six. 

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?

Soccer, definitely. 

What was your major/minor? 

Major in Marketing. 

Other than football, what would be your dream job?

Novelist. I love writing. I’m going to have a few number one best sellers by the time it’s all said and done. 

What have you been working on in the off-season?

Intelligence. I’ve really locked into the intellectual part of the game because of the advantage it can put me in without moving a muscle. 

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?

My favorite athlete is LaDainian Tomlinson. I would say I’m similar to Kiko Alonso, but when I’m out on the field, I just play ball as only I know how. 

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Do you have any secret talents?

I love writing, reading, painting. I love to think about the abstractions in the world and put them into as concrete of words I can think of. It sounds boring, but to me it’s never ending stimulation. 

Why do you play football?

I love the game. I love the hustle, the grind, the grit. I love the energy that comes into every practice and lifting session. There’s something about how the room changes when I flip that switch, how the field feels like it’s mine and whoever lines up in front of me won’t have a good day. I love that. 

Who or what motivates you the most?

My little brothers. Easy. I have an obligation to show them what it looks like to put all you have into something and that no matter what, so long as you give it all you got, you’ll never regret it. 

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