College Station LB Chantz Johnson draws inspiration from football family

College Station LB Chantz Johnson draws inspiration from football family

College Station linebacker Chantz Johnson comes from a football family.

His dad Jerry Johnson II won a national championship at Florida State as a three-year starting defensive tackle and later spent time in the NFL. The elder Johnson is now an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Texas A&M football team.

Chantz’s older brother Jerry Johnson III plays multiple positions for Rice, while his cousin Kamari Wilson is a freshman safety at Florida.

At the end of the day though, Chantz’s mom Zana Johnson is the head coach.

“She always claims herself as a coach,” Chantz laughed. “She always helps me. She’s always on me to keep me strong, never let myself get big headed. She always keeps me on the right path.”

Football is a family game for the Johnsons, and as Chantz continues to pursue his dreams of playing at the next level, he knows he will have plenty of support at home.

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“I really grew up around it,” Chantz said. “Growing up as a kid, me and my family we just grew up loving football, watching my brother and my other cousins ​​play it, so I always wanted to play it. But my mom held me back until I was older to play it, because she thought it would be better for me … for my body and my mind.”

Johnson started playing as a tight end but moved to defense at College Station Middle School.

“I was excited about it because I never really liked offense, honestly,” Chantz said.

Chantz said he enjoyed making big-time stops and helping get his offense back on the field. He points to the coaching staff at College Station and his dad helping him develop his skills.

“It’s a blessing really to have that type of connection with my dad and being able to have that type of training to help me with football for my senior year and really all of high school,” Chantz said. “Ever since I was little, he’s always tried to help me out, and he knows how to develop my body, so once I’m done with this season, me and him will probably work out and train until I leave for spring for football wherever I go.”

Chantz also worked with other trainers during the offseason including Jacory Nichols.

After one year at the middle school level, a year on the freshman team and another on the JV, Chantz got called up to the varsity as a junior. Despite plenty of depth at linebacker, defensive coordinator Chance Locklear wanted to get Chantz on the field.

“He was one of these kids that we kind of saw as a hybrid type player, and we were very deep at linebacker last year,” Locklear said. “We felt like he was a kid that we needed to find reps for him, so we kind of built a position for the opportunity to be able to get him on the field, and that was in our four-man front, and he really excelled at it.”

Chantz spent the first three seasons bouncing from outside linebacker to inside and then to the defensive line. Now in his final season with the Cougars, he’s back at outside linebacker.

“It’s fun,” Chantz said. “It’s fun to play behind the line, especially at the varsity level, like running around, hitting people, able to make interceptions, dropping, covering people, so it’s just fun.”

Locklear said Chantz has developed a lot over his four seasons with the Cougars, and while he’s always worked hard physically, he’s now starting to become a student of the game.

“He’s taken that role as an outside linebacker and really run with it,” Locklear said. “He’s gotten so much better at reading whether it’s a run play or a pass play, and his reaction to what he’s supposed to do off of that once he gets his read has been good too.”

• NOTES — Fifth-ranked College Station (3-1, 1-0) will play at Georgetown East View (0-4, 0-1) at 7 pm Friday in District 11-5A Division I play. The Cougars opened district with a 38-10 win over Leander last week, while East View fell to Cedar Park 59-17.

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