Jeremy Johnson had barely put hands on his Mr. Football trophy when the spotlight turned to his shot at history.
He became the first G.W. Carver football player to win a major state award Wednesday — much less Mr. Football — and he could do something unprecedented in Alabama.
Johnson is also a candidate for Mr. Basketball.
Nobody has won both.
“That’s what I’m striving for: Mr. Basketball and another state championship,” Johnson said. “I just want to lead my team to state again.
“Mr. Basketball is not that big a deal, as long as we win a state championship.”
The 6-foot-6 senior is the Carver basketball team’s leading scorer. The Wolverines (14-0) are ranked No. 1 in Class 6A and are the only unbeaten boys team in the state.
Johnson was first-team Class 6A All-State last year when Carver won a state championship. (Teammate Craig Sword, now at Mississippi State, was Mr. Basketball.)
“With the way he’s been playing and the way our team has been performing, I think he has a great opportunity,” Carver basketball coach James “J.J.” Jackson said.
“To win one of those is just an honor, not only for the kid, but for the community and the school.”
Carver plans to honor Johnson, both today and beyond.
The Wolverines will retire Johnson’s No. 6 football jersey, just as they did Sword’s No. 32 last year. Carver will also have a school assembly today to celebrate Johnson.
“It’s done. That’s it. That’s the last time you’ll see No. 6,” Carver principal Gary Hall said. “We’re going to put that one on a shelf.”
Johnson, a quarterback, led Carver to the 6A semifinals this year. He threw for almost 3,200 yards and 31 touchdowns.
He won in the closest recorded vote in Mr. Football history.
Johnson finished two points ahead of Fultondale quarterback ArDarius Stewart in voting announced at a banquet in downtown Montgomery.
Johnson is just the third Mr. Football from Montgomery, joining Jeff Davis’ Gorman Thornton in 1995 and Robert E. Lee’s Larry Ware in 1986.
“Mr. Football is a huge thing,” Carver football coach Billy Gresham said. “We want to honor him, not just this year but in the years to come.”
Johnson admitted he was nervous just before the Mr. Football announcement.
Smiles soon followed for him, parents Ojedita and LaTasha, his coaches and Hall, too. They soon spread the happiness to Carver’s campus.
“This is something I’ll share with my teammates and coaches because they put me in the best situations to succeed,” Johnson said.
“They made me look good.”