OLB Gunner Johnson a defensive leader

As a team captain, outside linebacker Gunner Johnson (Aledo, Texas/Aledo) is on a mission to lead his high school team to a fourth consecutive Texas Class 4A state title.

The biggest difference in this year’s team and the championship teams of the past: No Johnathan Gray to rely on offensively.

As a senior, Johnson has made it a priority to be a leader on defense in the absence of one of the most decorated high school players in Texas history in Gray, a touchdown machine who now is a freshman at Texas. Johnson, a 6-foot, 200-pound linebacker, has done his part in helping Aledo to a 6-1 record, and his play has kept the conversations of life without Gray to a minimum.

In six wins, Aledo has allowed only four touchdowns and has pitched two shutouts. Much of Aledo’s defensive success has been credited because of a strong linebacker corps featuring Johnson, who has received correspondence from SMU, TCU, Missouri, Tennessee and Utah, among other schools.

“It kind of seems like I am flying under the radar, but I can’t worry about it,” Johnson said of his recruiting process. “I will continue to focus on performing in the classroom and leading on the field as captain. Hopefully, we will win our fourth straight championship.”

As for his recruiting goal, Johnson simply said, “To prove I am one of the best linebackers in Texas.”

In addition to the aforementioned schools, Johnson has received high interest from FCS power Sam Houston State. The Bearkats, ranked No. 5 in the latest FCS poll, lost the FCS championship game to North Dakota State last season.