One last run on the hardwood for gridiron standout

By Michael Kinney

Basketball was Jacobe Johson’s first passion. It was the sport his father played and the one the Mustang High standout originally believed his path to the next level was headed.  

With seemingly just as many offers for basketball as for football, Johnson’s original intention was to not decide which sport he was going to play in college until after his senior year of basketball at Mustang.

But all that changed during the offseason ahead of Johnson’s senior year.  

“When I went on my visits and stuff it kind of like changed my perspective,” Johnson said. “I got to see places and stuff that I had never been to. So that was the main goal. When I did all that, I knew I was going to want to go ahead and seal the deal.” 

After ending the season with 39 tackles, 1,200 yards and 19 touchdowns, Johnson ended up as the No. 1 ranked player in Oklahoma and the No. 2 athlete in the nation, according to ESPN.

Johnson ( 6-3, 183) ultimately chose to stay home and signed with the University of Oklahoma during the early signing period. But he wasn’t able to go through the actual ceremony until Feb. 8 when he was surrounded by his family, coaches and teammates in front of a packed gymnasium at MHS.

Knowing this was going to be his final season of competitive hoops, Johnson headed into his senior year looking to guide the Broncos into the postseason and a possible shot at a 6A state championship as he plays alongside his freshman twin brothers.

However, while Johnson has had his moments, the season hasn’t gone exactly how he had planned.

“It was different than I expected. Honestly, I expected it to be a lot more fun,” Johnson said. “I feel like this year it’s been way more serious than last year. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I expected it to be a lot of fun this year. My brothers are up playing with me and I’ve been playing with all these guys for a long time. So, it’s still been a fun, good year. We still have time left and I think we can make a good run if we just start playing basketball.”

Some of the bumpy ride may have had to do with the hectic schedule Johnson finds himself. Even after his football season ended, he still had obligations such as playing in the Under Armour All-American Game.

It was during a late season losing streak that Johnson acknowledged he has not been playing up to the level he expects of himself and the level needed for Mustang to do damage in the playoffs, which begin Feb. 25.

“We definitely have the talent to go far in the state tournament. I really believe that,” Johnson said. “I’m going to have to step up. I’m going to have to play better than I have been. I’m just trying to be a better leader. A lot of people say I’m the gas that makes the car go on this team. So, I got to do better.”
Once the season comes to an end, Johnson will once again ramp up his gridiron training to prepare for his freshman year with the Sooners.

Yet, unlike most standout recruits, Johnson won’t have to choose which side of the ball he will play on. One of the factors that went into him signing with the Sooners was having an opportunity to play both ways.

“Actually, that was one of the first things that coach and me and my family talked about, me wanting to play both ways,” Johnson said. “They were completely a 100 % on board with that. They said, obviously I’m going to have to pick a dominant position. And as of right now that’s at defensive back. But they’re going to let me get some snaps and practice on offense as well.”

However, in order to see action on both sides of the ball, there was something Johnson had to give up.

“I won’t be able to get my No. 24. They wanted me to get a number to where I’m able to practice and play both sides of the ball,” Johnson said. “I may not be played both sides of the ball right off the bat, but I feel like it’s something that definitely will be in the talks for my future.”

Until then, Johnson is focused on ending his prep career on a high note. The three-sport athlete is going to continue to make the most out of his final go-around in a Mustang uniform.

“I want to go out with s bang in basketball season,” Johnson said. “Obviously in track, I want to do some things. I have some goals there. I feel like football l was really successful for me. But basketball, I feel like we still have some work to do.”

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Photos: Michael Kinney

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