Alcorn junior quarterback Noah Johnson proud of team

Published 12:09 am Wednesday, October 17, 2018


The Natchez Democrat

LORMAN — For the past two seasons, quarterback Noah Johnson has accepted his role as a backup but now in his junior season, the tide has shifted.

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Johnson a native of Tampa, Florida, came to Alcorn State in 2015 as a 5-foot-11, 187-pound quarterback who grew up a Buccaneer fan and only knew of Alcorn State because of Steve “Air” McNair.

“I knew who Steve McNair was, obviously, but I never knew he went to Alcorn State,” Johnson said. “Its pretty cool seeing all his pictures and knowing he pretty much built this.”

Despite the little knowledge about Alcorn, Johnson decided to sign on as a Brave over several other schools, including Indiana State, and several other schools who wanted to play him out of his quarterback position.

“Alcorn State was the only school who believed in me as a quarterback, so every time I play its just more motivation,” Johnson said.

Despite his below average size, Johnson said he believes he is a capable quarterback.

“I can see over the offensive line. I can make every throw, and read,” Johnson said. Johnson often compares himself to Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints.

“Just look at Brees,” Johnson said, “people talked about his height but he’s a hall of famer.”

In 2015, Johnson was listed as the fourth quarterback on the depth chart, which led to his eventual redshirt that fall.

“Being a redshirt was something that was very humbling,” Johnson said. “I wish I could’ve played but I learned so much from that year.’

In his redshirt season, the Braves went on to win the Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship with an overall record of 9-4.

“I learned how to be a good teammate, watching (then starting quarterback for the Braves) Lenorris Footman work hard, and see how close of a bond that 2014 team had was really special,” Johnson said. “I felt motivated. I saw the game from a different perspective, and I truly felt like I grew from my redshirt season.”

Footman, suffered with many injuries in 2016, giving Johnson he first true test as a Division I quarterback. As a redshirt freshman Johnson appeared in nine games and started in seven of those games.

“I never settled to be backup,” Johnson said. “I trained every day like a starter, and I just never accepted being a backup.”

In those nine games, he completed 84 of 150 passing attempts, threw for 1,116 yards, and 11 touchdowns. He also rushed for 440 yards, and added 10 touchdowns on the ground.

The Braves finished the 2016 season with a 5-6 record, and winners of the East Division of the SWAC.

The controversy was evident throughout the SWAC, as the Braves were deemed Eastern Conference Champions with a losing record.

“We heard the noise, but we never cared about what other people had to say, we were the champs,” Johnson said.

Heading into his redshirt sophomore season, Johnson had even higher expectations for himself, but a healthy Footman meant that Johnson would have to play a far lesser role for Alcorn than he did a season ago.

“I just tried to push the guy in front of me,” Johnson said. “Yeah it was hard sometimes, but I had to adapt, be patient, and work hard.”

In his sophomore season, Johnson only appeared in six games. He completed 60 percent of his passes for 782 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions. Johnson also tallied 333 yards and six touchdowns on the ground as he was forced to play far less snaps than the previous season. He helped the Braves to a 7-5 season and another Eastern Division SWAC Championship.

Going into the 2018 season, Johnson was listed at quarterback with three other players. Despite having the most experience between the other three guys, Johnson continued to work hard.

“I heard talks about transfer quarterback recruits with talent, but it motivated me, it made me go harder,” Johnson said.

As Johnson’s junior year is still in progress, he’s been the starter in all six of the Braves’ games.

He has led Alcorn State to a 5-2 record thus far, and has the squad tied atop the SWAC standings.

So far in 2018 he has racked up 1,596 total yards with 13 total touchdowns. The season is going good, but we are still getting better.

Johnson said he believes the Braves will win yet another SWAC Championship under his leadership in 2018.

“This team can win SWAC but I feel like I’m selling the team short by saying that because we have so much potential,” Johnson said. “This team is really good, and the sky is the limit.”