xml:space="preserve">
Johns Hopkins' Dan Johnson, a Westminster graduate, is shown celebrating a play against Gettysburg in 2015. Johnson is leading the Blue Jays into the NCAA playoffs Saturday. The defensive back has 57 tackles for the Blue Jays this season.
Johns Hopkins' Dan Johnson, a Westminster graduate, is shown celebrating a play against Gettysburg in 2015. Johnson is leading the Blue Jays into the NCAA playoffs Saturday. The defensive back has 57 tackles for the Blue Jays this season.

Jim Margraff remembers watching high school football film of Dan Johnson, and Johns Hopkins' coach liked what he saw.

Many coaches have had similar feelings about Johnson, a lifelong football player. From his youth days with Gamber-Smallwood, to starring at Westminster High School, and now with the Blue Jays, Johnson has shined at multiple positions.

Advertisement

Margraff took notice. And Johnson is still shining.

The former Owls all-county player is part of the Blue Jays' winningest class, and he has helped team into the NCAA Division III tournament once again. Johns Hopkins (10-0) hosts Randolph Macon (9-1) on Saturday at noon at Homewood Field.

Hopkins completed four straight years of undefeated regular seasons by last week's 48-28 win over McDaniel, Johnson's hometown team. Johnson, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound senior defensive back, had two tackles, a fumble recovery, and half a sack against the Green Terror.

He also played on the Jays' special teams, where Margraff continues to be impressed with Johnson's ability.

Senior defensive back Dan Johnson during Johns Hopkins University football practice on Homewood Field.
Senior defensive back Dan Johnson during Johns Hopkins University football practice on Homewood Field. (Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun)

"If there's five kickoffs, he's making the tackle or impacting the runner on every one of them," Margraff said. "It's uncanny how he just moves through those blocking schemes and he's always either there to make the tackle or force a guy to bounce to somebody else. ... Right from watching his film in high school, he was so productive on both sides of the ball. He's just one of those guys that made plays all over the place defensively, and offensively he was very impressive.

"We were happy to get him here."

That was four years ago, and Johnson hasn't slowed down. He worked his way into a starting role on defense by showcasing solid special teams skills. Johnson has 57 tackles (eight for loss), 3.5 sacks, two passes defensed, and a fumble recovery this season.

He collected four interceptions a year ago and finished with 61 tackles, earning second-team all-Centennial Conference honors.

This fall, Johnson received a first-team all-conference nod on defense.

"His skill set is incredibly invaluable to us," Margraff said. "We've had some success lately. And I think in a perfect world a guy comes in and just works his tail off for a couple years, and then finally gets his chance. He has been that and more.

"He's a terrific team leader, the guys love him."

The Blue Jays' senior class is 42-3 since arriving on campus in 2013, tied for the most wins by a class in Johns Hopkins and Centennial Conference history.

Johns Hopkins built a 41-7 halftime lead en route to a 48-28 victory over visiting McDaniel in Centennial Conference football action Saturday at Homewood Field in Baltimore.

"Early on in my career at Hopkins, I knew that there were some great players in front of me," Johnson said. "I kind of just tried to make an impact where I could. I was on the special teams. My hard work just paid off. ... Wherever they put me, I just try to do the best I can and make an impact for the team."

Johnson continues to make an impact off the field, too.

Advertisement

He said he's busy completing his double major in electrical and computer engineering — Johnson spent time in a school group that created a robot tour guide for the campus, and he's working on another project in his Robotics Sensory & Actuators class.

Johnson's grade-point average is above 3.3, and he has intern experience at a pair of engineering companies.

Those stats are typical for Johns Hopkins athletes, and they make Margraff smile.

"I went to school here," the coach said. "I wasn't doing those things."

Margraff will reach 200 career wins if Hopkins beats Randolph Macon on Saturday. And the Blue Jays will advance in the NCAA tournament.

The Jays have made seven tourney appearances, with a 5-7 record.

"Every week we just talk about going 1-0 this week," Johnson said. "We're not looking too far ahead. Just take care of each game, week in and week out.

"We think this is our year, we can maybe break through into the third round or even deeper in the playoffs."

410-857-7894



Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement