Steve Johnson #11 WR
Height: 6-2 Weight: 207 Age: 28
Born: 7/22/1986 San Francisco , CA
Experience: 8th season
High School: Angelo Rodriguez HS [Fairfield, CA]
Selected By: Buffalo Bills
Pick (Overall): 17 (224)
After struggling to acclimate to major college life in 2006, a humbled Johnson rededicated himself during the offseason before his senior campaign. When injuries took away two of the Wildcats' top offensive weapons in tailback Rafael Little and receiver Keenan Burton for long stretches of the 2007 season, Johnson was more than ready to fill that void.
Starting 10 of 13 games while seeing action at split end, flanker and in the slot, Johnson became just the fourth player in school history to gain more than 1,000 yards receiving in a season. His 13 touchdown catches were one shy of the school single-season record.
He also produced game-winning scoring grabs in three of the school's most memorable comebacks, snatching a 57-yarder with 0:28 left in a 40-34 victory over Louisville; catching a 7-yarder in triple overtime to give UK a 43-37 win over LSU and closing out his career with a 38-yard fourth-quarter grab in a 35-28 triumph over Florida State in the Music City Bowl.
Attending Rodriguez High School, Johnson only played two years of football, as the school did not add a football program until his junior year. He started at running back as a junior and quarterback as a senior, in addition to playing safety, linebacker and end on defense. He earned All-State and first-team All-Conference honors and was named Most Valuable Player of the East-West Shrine All-Star Game following his senior season. He also played two years of basketball and was second-team All-Conference.
Johnson enrolled at Chabot College in 2004, where he started every game during his two-year career. As a freshman, he caught 32 passes for 607 yards (19.0 avg) and six touchdowns, earning second-team All-Golden Gate Conference honors, as he helped lead Chabot to the league championship.
In 2005, Johnson caught 73 passes for 1,060 yards (14.5 avg) and 12 touchdowns, as he ranked fourth in receptions and receiving yards per game among California's 72 junior colleges. He earned first-team All-Region honors and was named California Player of the Week vs. Merced College.
"Steve is a tremendous athlete and a hard worker," Chabot head coach Dan Calcagno said. "He's the kind of person who has a goal, gets his mind set on it, and does it."
He would finish his Chabot College career with 1,667 yards and 18 touchdowns on 105 receptions (15.88 avg).
Johnson turned down scholarship offers from Marshall, Wyoming and Washington State to enroll at Kentucky in 2005. It was a tough time for him to adjust to major college life, putting him in the coach's doghouse for his work ethic. He managed to catch only 12 passes for 159 yards (13.2 avg) and one touchdown in 13 games of limited action as a junior.
With his improved work ethic, Johnson earned 10 starting assignments in 2007, earning All-Southeastern Conference first-team honors, in addition to being named the team's Most Improve Player by the coaching staff. He ranked second in the league with an average of 80.8 yards per game receiving. He snatched 60 passes for 1,041 yards (17.4 avg) and 13 touchdowns.
In 26 games at Kentucky, Johnson started 10 times. He hauled in 72 passes for 1,200 yards (16.67 avg). Fourteen of those catches resulted in touchdowns. He also recorded one solo tackle.