North Fort Myers DL balancing spring practice and shot put regionals

Author: Zach Oliveri
Published: Updated:

On Friday’s in the fall, you can find North Fort Myers defensive lineman James Johnson wrecking havoc by sacking quarterbacks and forcing fumbles. But in the spring, his goals change as he also competes in the shot put.

“I make a mark for myself that I have to pass this mark,” Johnson said. “Like I’ll keep going until I pass that mark. And like I’ll be super tired sometimes it won’t even matter until I pass that mark.”

James stumbled into the sport when he was in eighth grade and his coach recognized his talent. This season, James finished in first place six times, setting personal records and holds a top 10 ranking in the state.

“It’s good but I want to be number one in the state instead of like top 10 below somebody,” Johnson said. “If you’re not first than you’re last.”

With spring football practice underway during postseason for the shot put, James is practicing both sports at the same time.

He throws for thirty minutes. Then, puts on the pads and joins the Red Knights football team for practice.

“I get to like skip 40s and all that,” Johnson explained. “Like those are tiring and I’m like wow I get to skip these and yeah I got more energy than all y’all right now.”

“It shows the discipline that he wants to be out here,” North Fort Myers football head coach David Pasquale said. “And at the same time he wants to compete. And you can’t ask for anything more in a young athlete other than them wanting to compete.”

This spring, James is getting more Division I offers, including programs such as Syracuse and Indiana. He got Indiana’s offer Tuesday. For James, that’s part of his ultimate journey.

“I want to get past D1 and go to like the next level NFL,” Johnson said.

Before that, he wants to keep playing both sports in college.

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