Athlete Profile: Shawn Johnson

Senior running back Shawn Johnson comes from Bakersfield, California, where an early beginning in football led him to becoming a key player of the MSU football team. He is studying sociology while also working on a criminology minor.

Although he was born in Ventura, California, Johnson moved around quite a bit when he was younger. He ended up in Bakersfield until the second half of his eighth grade year. Johnson then settled in with a second family, the Kesslers, who took him into their home his sophomore year of high school before. “They helped me and influenced me in a positive way to get a scholarship,” he said, which paved the way for him to play football at MSU. Johnson has found a support system and family for himself in Bozeman as well, the Rothbergs, who “have been to more games than anyone else,” he said.

When asked how he got started in football, Johnson said, “There was a period of my childhood when my mom was not around. A family friend signed me up to play football. I was seven years old.”

He added that former NFL running back Ricky Williams also inspired him to play football and to specialize in the running back position. His family inspires him to keep going as they have shown immense support and guidance in his football career to get him to where he is today.

As he prepares for the upcoming season, Johnson said he trains almost every day by lifting weights and running. “I’m utilizing Coach Wilcox’s strength program to get better this offseason,” he said. His training allows him to look forward to game days when he believes the MSU community prove to be the best fans in the country.

Johnson has ambitious goals for this season which include winning the Big Sky Conference Championship and the national championship. Once Johnson graduates, he plans to continue pursuing football in the NFL or the Canadian League.