NU defense stifiles Owls' offense in a season-best perfomance
The 2011 Scouting Report: An extremely gifted and dynamic athlete ... One of the best athletes in NU's linebacking corps ... Begins fall camp as the starting outside (SAM) linebacker ... A former high school safety, he continues to learn the linebacker position ... Continuing to make significant gains with his upper body strength.
2011:Played in 46 career games with 13 career starts ... Registered four tackles (two solos) and a pass deflection at Boston College ... Recorded two solo tackles, which included a 3-yard TFL, against Eastern Illinois ... Totaled six tackles, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup at Army ... Credited with two tackles and a pass breakup at Illinois ... Four tackles, as well as a QB hurry, vs. Penn State ... Registered two tackles--one of those a 4-yard pass sack--against Indiana ... Two tackles at Nebraska ... Named team's defensive big playmaker of the game vs. Rice as he recorded a career-best three QB hurries as well as as a pass breakup ... Had two assisted tackles vs. Texas A&M in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.
2010: Reserve outside linebacker ... Played in 12 games with two starts ... Saw extensive action on opponent passing situations ... One stop vs. Illinois ... One QB hurry vs. Iowa ... Two tackles at Penn State ... Posted two tackles at Indiana ... One stop vs. Michigan State ... Sealed NU's win at Minnesota with his interception with 17 seconds remaining, the second pick of his career ... Two tackles vs. Central Michigan ... Totaled five stops at Rice ... Against Illinois State, notched the second fumble recovery of his career and returned it 29 yards to set up a touchdown ... Finished with two tackles and a QB hurry against the Redbirds ... Recorded five tackles -- including his first career sack -- and a pass breakup at Vanderbilt ... Named NU's special teams player of the week against Rice and at Penn State ... Earned dual honors against Minnesota as NU's special teams player of the week and defensive big playmaker.
2009: Played in nine games with seven starts ... Finished season with 28 tackles (3.5 for loss) ... Missed the Iowa and Illinois games and played sparingly vs. Wisconsin due to a leg injury ... Started Outback Bowl game vs. Auburn and totaled a career-high-tying six tackles ... Returned to the starting lineup vs. Indiana after missing Miami and Michigan State games with a leg injury and notched six tackles with one TFL and a QB hurry ... Two stops at Purdue ... Finished with five tackles vs. Minnesota, including 0.5 TFL's ... Stuffed the stat sheet at Syracuse, collecting three tackles, one sack for a 4-yard loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery on his way to NU's defensive player of the game honors ... Against Eastern Michigan, intercepted the first pass of his career and returned it 70 yards for a pick-six ... Named team's defensive big playmaker vs. EMU ... Finished with four tackles and one TFL against the Eagles ... In his first start vs. Towson, recorded two tackles and one pass breakup.
2008: Recorded the first blocked punt of his career at Michigan ... Set a season high with three tackles vs. Purdue ... Had one tackle in his collegiate debut vs. Syracuse and one tackle at Duke ... Missed the SIU and Ohio games with an injury ... Came back with a special teams tackle at Iowa.
2007: Did not see action ... Named team's special teams practice player of the week vs. Iowa.
High School:Velocity/SuperPrep All-Region and Rivals.com All-Region selection ... Ranked 10th among all players (first among linebackers) in Rivals.com Wisconsin player ranking ... First-team all-state selection by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and WisconsinPreps.com ... Second-team all-state selection by Associated Press ... A two-time Kenosha NewsAll-County and Mi
dwest Classic All-Conference first-team selection (defensive back) ... Named the Midwest Classic Defensive Player of the Year in 2006 ... Also earned all-conference honors (second team) as a sophomore ... Totaled 195 solo tackles, 44 assisted tackles, 10 interceptions and 26 TFL's (16 his senior season) during three-year prep career ... As a receiver, totaled 53 receptions for 1,098 yards (20.7 ypr) and 14 TD's ... Selected to play in Wisconsin's North-South All-Star game ... 2007 U.S. All-American Bowl nominee ... U.S. Army National Scholar-Athlete Award ... Wendy's High School Heisman nominee ... Pacers' Defensive Player of the Year in 2006 ... Led the Pacers to a two-year mark of 16-5 (junior and senior seasons), with his team reaching the state playoffs both years ... Shoreland Lutheran went 9-2 and won the conference title his junior season ... Team captain ... School's Alan Ameche Award nominee (best high school football player in the county) ... Also lettered in track and basketball ... Advanced to the state finals in the long jump his junior year ... Holds school records for 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump and 4x800 relay ... Set conference record in 55 meters, 400 meters and long jump (22' 9") ... Placed second at state meet (Division 2) in the long jump and 100 meters ... Honorable mention All-Midwest Classic Conference selection and team co-captain in basketball ... Team's Defensive Player of the Year in basketball, too ... National Honor Society and Honor Roll all four years ... Active in community service projects ... Coached by Mark Stein.
Personal: Born Benjamin Thomas Johnson ... Son of Russell and Deborah Johnson ... Uncle, Steve Smith, played baseball at Miami (Ohio) ... Earned his undergraduate degree (communication studies major and business institutions minor) in June, 2011 ... Pursuing postgraduate studies.