Coastal’s Johnson picks off conference, national awards

Coastal Carolina corner back Dontavais Johnson picked off three passes and broke-up another in the Chanticleers’ season-opening win to be named the Big South’s Defensive Player of the Week.

The senior was also selected the National Defensive Performer of the Week by the CollegeFootballPerformance.com. Johnson later added National FCS Defensive Player of the Week, as named by The Sports Network, to his impressive list of honors.

Johnson was additionally named the National DB of the Week by CollegeFootballPerformance.com and the Big South Defensive Player of the Week by CollegeSportsMadness.com.

Johnson tied the Coastal Carolina school record by picking off three passes in a game. (Josh Norman and his older brother Marrio also share the CCU single-game record with three picks in one game.) Ironically, Josh Norman, a two-time All-America and current member of the Carolina Panthers, was on hand to see his record tied as he was honored in a pre-game ceremony.

With CCU leading 7-0, Johnson picked off his first career pass near midfield. Six plays later, Jeremy Height had a 22-yard rushing touchdown to give the Chants a 14-0 lead. In the second quarter, Johnson picked off his second pass and, nine plays later, Coastal went up 17-0.

His lone PBU may have been his “best play of the game” according to defensive coordinator Clayton Carlin. Facing on a third-and-goal and CCU up 14 points, Johnson was in man coverage as CCU blitzed. He broke up the pass to force a field goal and the Aggies would not get on the scoreboard the rest of the game. Johnson’s final pick came in the fourth quarter on the Aggies’ final drive. Johnson would return the ball 33 yards and Coastal ran out the clock for the win.

Coastal Carolina will hit the road this Saturday to face Furman in Greenville. Kickoff at Paladin Stadium is set for 5 pm.

Photo by Johnny Gasque

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