Star power; Avery Johnson shines on the field and in the classroom

Video by Kenna Ellis and Kyla Frenchers


Avery Johnson dodges a Maize South Mavericks player and then proceeds to run the ball down field at Maize High School’s 2021 homecoming game.

Brooklynn White, Reporter

Although he has a record for being an exceptional football player, there is much more to Maize High junior Avery Johnson than meets the eye. He is a reputable student in and outside of the classroom, a good friend and is family oriented.

Senior offensive lineman Nick Reyes said Johnson shows leadership in all aspects of his life and is extremely humble despite being so popular throughout the school.

“He knows the game very well,” Reyes said. “He knows how to make a real team and knows how to make great plays. He’s a very smart player and is probably one of the best leaders that I’ve had in my experience.”

Johnson’s athletic precedence has made him one of the most highly recruited quarterbacks for the Class of 2023 in the country. He has close to 20 offers from division one schools such as Florida State, Auburn, Kansas State, Mississippi and Notre Dame.

ESPN ranks Johnson 100th in its top 300 players in his class. He is the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the country and No. 2 prospect from Kansas. This comes as a result of being placed at the head of the team early on.

“Avery was put in a leadership role as soon as he arrived at Maize High School and he has responded very well,” said Gary Guzman, head football coach for Maize High School. “As a quarterback, you are in charge of the offense and your teammates have to trust you to lead them. I have been blessed with many great quarterbacks and Avery is another one that I can add to that list.”

Outside of school, Johnson said he has a close relationship with his parents and two older siblings. He said those relationships help him to cope with the stress of sports.

“I think the connection my family has is not like anybody else’s,” Johnson said. “We always crack jokes and have this funny relationship with each other.”

Along with football, Johnson plays basketball and baseball. In March, he helped Maize win the first state basketball championship in school history and he was one of the leading hitters on the baseball team.

But those sports never sparked his passion quite like football.

“Avery has played sports since he was 4 years old and started with soccer at the YMCA,” said Mark Johnson, Avery’s dad. “They told us that he was scoring too many goals and couldn’t play because it was a non-competitive team. His desire to compete has always been there.”

Avery began his football career by observing his older brother’s football practices and games. He would play his own game on the sidelines with other kids. Other than a little bit of defense here and there, Avery has always played quarterback for almost his entire career.

“As his parents, we could not be more proud,” Mark Johnson said. “We can talk about everything he has done in sports, but to overachieve in the classroom solidifies a future. Smart in the classroom transitions into smart in sport, hence him having success.”

Through the years, his parents have pushed for Johnson to prioritize his education and being a kid along with his sports. He says that he tries his best to finish the majority of his schoolwork while at school. Over the years,  Avery has managed to carry a grade point average of 4.125 and has never had a B, his dad said.

“Many times people’s expectations are unreal for a 16-year-old kid,” Mark Johnson said. “That’s the reality of it. Avery wears the pressure of the world on his shoulders. You can tell him over and over not to do it, but he seems to be at his best when the pressure is on. We just keep reminding him that he is one person but we do not allow excuses therefore he is responsible for his team. Win, lose, or draw. He was born for the pressure.”