THE BLUE PRINT: Johnson II Balances Academics, Athletics On Way To Laying Legacy
WHEN TALKING WITH SAM JOHNSON II OF KLEIN HIGH, A CLINKING AND CLANKING SOUND CAN BE HEARD FAINTLY IN THE BACKGROUND.
What is that?
It’s a host of track and field medals around his neck brushing against each other as he moves from side to side.
Sam Johnson is decorated. The senior has a 4.4 GPA, is a National Honor Society recipient and has worn the blue-and-gold in track, football and basketball at one time or another in his Bearkat career. It’s track, however, that gives him the biggest thrill.
“At a very young age, I played everything,” he said. “I loved branching out in each sport and cross-training, but nothing has ever given me the feeling that running track does.”
It may just be in his blood. His mom, Octavia Cotton, ran at the University of Arkansas in the early 1990s. Go figure?
“My mom has always let me do my thing,” he said. “She never forced me to follow in her footsteps. She just always told me, ‘do you.’ I always know, though, that she is there to give me advice when I need it. She’s my number one fan.”
Johnson specializes in the 400 and 800-meter races and the relays. The ‘Kats have gotten off to a hot start with one of the best 4x400 times in the nation at 3:20.74 as of early March.
“I have a few goals this year and that is to get a college scholarship and make it to State,” he said. “I’ve had some setbacks, which has made me work even harder.”
During Regionals last year, he felt something in his hip. He has subsequently recovered from the injury and picked up his first official offer from UT-Rio Grande Valley in February. Things are going his way.
As he looks back on his athletic and academic career at Klein High, we asked what advice would he give to an incoming freshman trying to build a legacy in the classroom and in multiple sports?
“Remember, you can do nothing without academics,” he said. “I’m very focused on my education. It’s so important. Athletically, I took advantage of my summers. I would get up early and work out several times a day. I was prepared. During the season, I would be preparing for the next season a few months early, so I could bounce right into it.”
That’s the blueprint. That’s the Sam Johnson way, and it has obviously paid dividends.