ROCHESTER–Us at Northstar Football News find ourselves in Rochester again this time chatting with 2021 NFN prospect Donaven Johnson of Rochester Century. Johnson is one of the key wide receivers under QB Nathan Eberhart who is the best QB from the Rochester area. Johnson is also a stud linebacker as well you’ll want to get to know about in this column. We chatted with Johnson about his junior season, who he’s chatted with at the next level, and much more!
Get to Know Donaven Johnson
With the likes of Jack Fisher and Mark Leonard lost to graduation, it will be up to Johnson and other senior Isaiah Huber to lead the receiving core for the Panthers this upcoming season. Johnson is a an aggressive receiver that has strength to go up and get it versus the defensive back defending the ball. Much like a driver that can’t see a blind spot, Johnson’s has a good abilty to create seperation and hit those routes with his superb route running. As for linebacker, Johnson’s strengths consist of being physical with his hits, watching when a receiver is going to make a cut in their route, and working in coverage when he has to drop back and guard a receiver, running back, etc.
Favorite Part About Wide Receiver/Linebacker
Johnson summed up both positions in a nutshell in exactly what he likes about both. The ability to use your creative instincts to get open or get to the ball quickly are key parts Johnson enjoys about wide receiver and linebacker. Much like a startup company getting their foot in the ground, Johnson likes the physicality and the ability to create your own routes and finding your own vision on locking down the guy in front of you on defense.
College Interest/His Pitch to College Coaches
Johnson has started his recruiting trail with Division I and Division II programs in the NSIC. North Dakota, Minnesota State-Mankato, and Augustana have all showed slight interest to start in Johnson’s game. The Fighting Hawks have offered a visit to Grand Forks for the Spring Game. In his pitch to college coaches, Johnson told us you’ll be getting “a team first, hard working kid, who’s been through a lot and preserved positive energy thru it all and is ready to win and win now,” Johnson told Northstar Football News as it’s always been a dream of his to play college football anywhere he gets a chance.
Working Towards Next Season
The biggest thing Johnson has taken initiative himself to work on this offseason is his speed. Johnson, a Panthers track star as well, plans to run hills “every day” when the weather gets warm outside so he can juke some cornerbacks out of their shoes next year.
When it comes to football mentors, Johnson has some great mentors in his household and In his football program. His father Craig Johnson was a high school All-American back in his playing days growing up in Miami, Florida. On the Panthers sideline, his mentor is Rochester Century wide receivers coach Kyle Riggott who has helped Johnson not only on the football field, but any aspect of life Johnson comes to him about off the field.
Learning from Last Season/Senior Season Goals
Johnson has realized how strong he’s become over his junior season and knows his mobility for how hard he can go on any given play, game, etc. A crazy fact about Johnson, is that he played the entire season for the Panthers on a torn meniscus and still had in his own words a “good season” despite the injury. With a fully healthy knee in 2020, Johnson is excited to see what he can bring to the table for the Panthers. The main goal even early in 2020 for Johnson and the Panthers is to get the Rochester Century Panthers to their first ever state appearance in school history and nothing less than that.
You can check out the potential Johnson brings to the table for the year 2020 from his junior film (click here)