Keyshawn Johnson is a Southern California legend, thanks to his star turn at USC and high school career at Palisades and Dorsey High. His eventual stardom in the NFL didn’t hurt, either. Now there’s a new Keeshawn Johnson at his high school alma mater, though the spelling underscores that the two aren’t related in any way.
As noted by the Los Angeles Times’ Eric Sondheimer, Keeshawn Johnson (who, interestingly, spells his name differently on his Hudl player page) enters the 2017 season as one of the featured backs in Los Angeles power Dorsey’s offense. Johnson is speedy, elusive and deceptively powerful. And he might just be the breakout player Dorsey needs to build off an impressive 11-3 season in 2016.
The 5-foot-8, 150-pound junior is still learning and growing, so he’ll need more time to find firm footing. Still, the early returns are impressive. In relatively limited action as a sophomore change of pace back, Johnson had 488 yards and two touchdowns on 57 carries. That’s an average of nearly nine yards per rush.
Keeshawn Johnson isn’t the only high school player to bear a very similar moniker to the former perennial All-Pro. In fact, he isn’t even the only one in the state of California. Beyond the elder Keyshawn Johnson’s son, Keyshawn Johnson Jr. (currently on sabbatical from the Nebraska football team), there was a wide receiver from Palo Alto named KeeSean Johnson who graduated in 2014 and now plays for Fresno State. There’s also a current Duncanville (Texas) linebacker named Keyshawn Johnson who is expected to start as a junior.
Still, the most obvious and striking connection is between the two Dorsey men, both because of their geographic location and their high school of choice, or destiny as the case may be.
It’s far too early to be comparing Keeshawn to Keyshawn, but the Johnsons do seem to share an immense amount of a talent and a discernible will to succeed. The question now is whether Keeshawn can grow into a player who can impact a game with a single touch due to unstoppable explosiveness.
We’ve all got three more seasons to find out.