With three games remaining in the 2014 season, senior Gus Johnson continues to garner national attention for his explosive senior season, including an invitation to play in one of the most prestigious senior all-star games.
Johnson has received an invitation to participate in the 2015 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl on Saturday, January 17th at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Founded in 2012, the annual game gives prospective NFL players an opportunity to showcase their talents. Last season, ESPN Networks aired the game-week practices and game nationally as more than 140 scouts, general managers and head coaches representing all 32 NFL teams were in attendance.
The Collegiate Bowl is a week-long event which gives participants a first-hand look at the business of the National Football League. Players will get a chance to network with current and former NFL players and coaches while receiving opportunities to receive professional development and public relations training.
Johnson continues to have one of the best seasons in SFA football history, coming off a 148-yard performance against Sam Houston State Saturday with a touchdown. It was Johnson's seventh 100-yard performance of the season and his ninth-straight game with at least one touchdown.
Johnson now sits at 1,250 rushing yards in 2014, which is the fourth-best single-season performance in program history. He is just 191 yards shy of surpassing Larry Centers' 1,440 yards in 1989 as the program's single-season rushing leader. Johnson's 19 touchdowns on the year gives him 114 points, which makes him SFA's all-time single-season scoring leader, surpassing the 111 points set by Chuck Rawlison in 1989 and Evan Engwall in 2009.
Entering the final three games of his career, Johnson currently sits at 3,474 career rushing yards, which is second all-time in SFA history. He trails Leonard Harris, the Lumberjacks' all-time leading rusher, by 298 yards, meaning he would need to average just shy of 100 yards in the final three games of the regular season to become SFA's all-time rushing king (Johnson is currently averaging 138.9 yards per game in 2014).
The Gilmer native remains among the national leaders in a number of statistical categories, including leading the nation in touchdowns (19). He ranks second nationally in yards per carry (7.72) and scoring (12.7 ppg), third in total rushing yards (1,250) and fifth in rushing yards per game (138.9).
In addition to the Lumberjack records Johnson has set, he has also etched his name into the Southland Conference record book as well. Johnson currently ranks seventh all-time in the conference's history in rushing yards while sitting fourth all-time in rushing touchdowns (47) and fifth in total touchdowns (48). He has also racked up 288 points during his SFA career, which is just one point shy of cracking the SLC's all-time top-10 list.
Johnson was named to the 2014 Walter Payton Award Watch List on September 30th, joining Southeastern Louisiana quarterback Bryan Bennett as the only Southland Conference players on the list. Named after the legendary NFL Hall of Fame running back, the Walter Payton Award is given each year to the top collegiate football player at the FCS level. Ballots will be sent to a national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries following the regular season. The top three vote-getters will be invited to the presentation of the award.
Johnson and the rest of the Lumberjacks face a challenging road test this weekend, heading to Lake Charles, La., for a showdown with sixth-ranked McNeese State. Opening kick against the Cowboys is set for 6 p.m. at Cowboy Stadium.