He’s only a teenager and John Krahn is already a larger-than-life figure. The Paul Bunyan of high school football. The giant among giants.
At 7-feet tall and 440 pounds, the 17-year-old Krahn — nicknamed Junior (really) — may be the single largest human playing football. He’s a defensive tackle for ML King High in Riverside, California. Needless to say, he is a force in the middle.
While the senior now gets plenty of attention for being the biggest gap-filler imaginable on a defensive front, Krahn is plenty familiar with his size. According to a prior feature in the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Krahn simply never felt comfortable with his size until he lined up on a football field.
“I always felt it’s been a good sport for me because I’m big and I can control what goes on around me,” Krahn told the Press-Enterprise.“It has been my one true love throughout my entire life.”
To put Krahn’s size in perspective, consider this: He wears a size 18 shoe, which is the same size as former NBA giant Yao Ming. When he goes to amusement parks he is often unable to ride rollercoasters … because he’s just too big.
Of course, Krahn is used to it because his life has always been this way. He was reportedly the tallest and largest person — not just student — in his school by the fifth grade, taller and larger than the principal, every other administrator and every teacher in an entire elementary school. In his own home, Krahn often has to duck to avoid spinning ceiling fans.
And while Krahn has always loved football, he had to wait to get started playing competitively because the youth leagues in his area all had weight restrictions. Then, when he finally did get to play in an unrestricted junior high league, he broke a teammate’s arm in his first practice when he fell on him.
Yet Krahn has persevered through his prior struggles and some initial timidness on the field to emerge as a dominant nose tackle. With his surprisingly adept footwork and agility, he might even have a future beyond the 2015 season at the collegiate level, too. And if that doesn’t work out? He could easily start a business as a one-man security firm, as evidenced by a story shared by Krahn’s coach, ML King head football coach Kevin Corridan, about a group of King football players defending a woman who was being harassed at the US Open of Surfing:
“He starts chirping at our kids,” Corridan said, “telling them ‘I’m going whoop up on you guys.’”
“Then Junior stood up. The guy quickly changed his tone,” Corridan added, “and left the situation.”