By Brandon C. Williams
WHILE Texas City’s D’Onta Foreman and La Marque’s Brian Allen are beginning their pro football careers with the Texans and Steelers, respectively, a third former Galveston County high school football star is making inroads toward making an impact for his team this fall.
Clear Springs alum Marcus Johnson has been one of the standouts in the first week of Philadelphia Eagles training camp, shining at wide receiver and getting high praise from coach Doug Pederson. Johnson, who was hampered with a quad injury last year, is making up for lost time and has staked a claim toward a spot on the 53-man roster.
“You build on your craft and put the best you that you can out there,” Johnson told 247Sports.com. “It becomes second nature after repeating it over and over. The comfort level brings the true player that you are out. You don’t have to think as much. You can just go play, you’re loose. When that happens everything comes together.”
Johnson, who played his college ball at University of Texas, stepped up in this past Saturday’s practice when he filled in for injured starter Alshon Jeffery and made two impressive catches while running with the first team. He followed up with another eye-opening showing on Sunday in front of more than 23,000 fans who showed up at Lincoln Financial Field to see the open practice.
In what has been a competitive race for roster spots at receiver, Johnson’s effort will give him ample opportunities during the preseason, which begins for the Eagles at Green Bay Packers on August 10.
Pederson feels that Johnson’s strong training camp start began months early when he began to assert himself.
“Well, just go back to the first part of OTAs. He’s made an impact. He’s shown up. He’s making some plays,” said Pederson. “He’s one of the guys that will continue to kind of give some reps from time to time with that first group and see where he’s at. He’s a young, talented receiver that filled in well (Saturday).
“I talk to the guys a lot about it. We just got to keep stacking those types of days together and get better. He did a nice job yesterday and want to see another day today like that.”
With the Eagles expected to take things slowly with Jeffery, the team’s centerpiece free agent acquisition, Johnson will continue to see time with the first team alongside Nelson Agholor and Torrey Smith.
“It helps everything once you really get the playbook down,” Johnson said. “It’s a thick playbook. It’s a lot of plays, a lot of change that goes into it, and definitely at this point of my career, understanding I need to play all positions. You really have to be mentally dialed in, but at the same time, it helps you a lot once you understand it, and it helps you play comfortable.
“Once you get that playbook down and you can play comfortable, the true athlete and the true player comes out.” ?