Johnson signs with ULL
Morgan City standout Darryl Johnson’s defensive line coach, Mike Ruffin Sr., watched his pupil grow from a raw kid into one of the better football players to come out of Morgan City High School in recent years.
As fate would have it, now Johnson, a senior, has agreed to continue his college career at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, a football program that just like Johnson, has done some growing of its own in recent years, coming off its third straight New Orleans Bowl victory after a lengthy postseason hiatus.
Johnson, who actually signed with ULL on Feb. 5 on National Signing Day, held a signing ceremony at halftime of his school’s basketball game against South Terrebonne Tuesday.
When asked why he decided to attend ULL, he said it was near home and he had good things to say about the coaches and players.
“When I went there on my visit, the players made me feel at home, and I love the coaches and staff,” he said.
The opportunity to win at the Lafayette university has only enhanced his excitement to attend the school.
Ruffin said his student was very athletic and was quick for his size (currently 6-feet, 5-inches and 320 pounds) when he first got him and it was simply a matter of Johnson learning how to play football and keeping his focus.
“He learned, stayed dedicated and he worked out (in) time to be a really good player, one of our best players that came through the school in a few years,” Ruffin said.
Johnson capped his senior year with first-team All-District 7-4A honors as well as honorable mention Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 4A All-State honors.
His coach his senior season, Dennis Lorio, compared Johnson a few months ago to another player he had coached, former Thibodaux High and Auburn offensive lineman Greg Robinson. Robinson has since declared for the NFL draft.
Lorio, who resigned his post at the school, said in December that Johnson was “very impressive from the day we got (to Morgan City).”
Johnson’s aunt, Debbie Crawford, said she also would like to thank former Morgan City head football coach Brandon Nowlin, who was with Johnson for much of his high school career before leaving to take an assistant coaching position on Nicholls State’s staff.
“He (Nowlin) really pushed him, and if it wouldn’t be for Coach Nowlin, Darryl wouldn’t be at the point where he’s at now,” Crawford said.
Looking forward, Johnson said he would be working on his speed and strength as he prepares for the next level.
“They said they see a lot in me,” Johnson said of the ULL coaches. “They just want me to work hard … get my grades right and just wait and see when I get there.”
From a former coach’s standpoint, Ruffin said he sees good things in Johnson’s future on the next level as long as Johnson remains dedicated.