As soon as Tim Johns stepped onto the campus of the United States Military Academy this past summer, he knew exactly where he wanted to play his college football.
“I knew as soon as I was there,” he said. “I was like, ‘This is the place for me.'”
West Point will be the place for Johns next fall, but for now the Greenwood senior linebacker is focused on making his final high school season one to remember.
At 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Johns is hard to miss; his physique alone often makes him a center of attention. But his play would have made observers take notice regardless.
After seeing a handful of snaps as a freshman, Johns burst onto the scene his sophomore season, collecting 77 tackles and intercepting a pass. He made a career-high 11 stops against Whiteland.
“His freshman year, we knew his physicality and size,” Greenwood coach Mike Campbell said. “Then we turned him a little bit loose as a sophomore, and you could just see every game he got better and better.”
Building on that as a junior, Johns had eight tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery in the opener against Perry Meridian, then returned another fumble 63 yards for a touchdown the following week against Indian Creek. He finished the year with 70 tackles overall.
Now, as a third-year starter, he’s one of the anchors of a veteran Greenwood defense that has yielded only a single garbage-time touchdown in each of its two victories. Johns also doubles as the punter for the Woodmen.
Having the pressure of the recruiting process out of the way — Johns had a dozen Division I offers by the time he committed to Army — means he can enjoy his senior season that much more before heading off to West Point, where he plans to study marketing.
“It’s a big weight lifted off,” Johns said, “especially because you’re not worried about, ‘What am I going to do to perform this game to make a coach look at me?’ You already know.”
Campbell says that while Johns’ measurables are what jumps out at most people first, he values the extra effort that his standout linebacker is willing to put in when no one’s watching.
“He’ll take every rep on scout (team), too, defensively,” Campbell said. “When you’ve got guys who are that good defensively and they take all the reps on scout, then obviously it’s going to make your offense better.
“It’s one of those things that probably goes unnoticed by people who aren’t at practice every day, but we certainly appreciate that.”
Johns takes great pride in going the extra mile during the week, and he feels as though it’s a strength that will help him succeed at the next level.
“I think I put in the most work and preparation for the game as far as my training, my film, everything,” Johns said. “And then once I’m on the field, I think I work the hardest, I play the hardest; I don’t ever stop pursuing the football.”