Brown, Johnson team up in backfield for Under Armour game

Eighty-nine of the best high school football players in America representing 23 states will participate in the Under Armour All-America Game this week down in Florida. What are the odds, then, that two of those players would grow up 10 minutes away from each other in DeKalb County, start their playing careers at age 5 in the same Central DeKalb park and end up as the starting running backs in the same backfield for Saturday’s nationally-televised high school all-star game?

Pretty remote, one would guess. But that’s the way it worked out for Mack Brown and Storm Johnson. And they’re loving it.

“It’s great,” said Brown, a Florida commitment who starred for Lithonia’s M.L. King High the last three seasons. “We’re excited about it. We’ve been working out together about three times a week to get ready.”

“It’s pretty cool,” said Johnson, a Miami commitment who played at Loganville High this past season. “Mack’s a good friend. We’ve known each other since we were 5 or 6.”

It was mostly a coincidence. Unlike most all-star games where teams are divided regionally, the Under Armour teams are individually chosen based on recruiting rating and physical traits.

“We divide them based on grades,” said Tom Luginbill of Scouts, Inc., who was involved in the selection process and will be one of the commentators for Saturday’s broadcast. “But the running back thing is an interesting deal. You try to take different shapes and sizes and skill sets and come up with a somewhat eclectic group. So we took a guy that may be a little more powerful, may be a little more of a bruiser in Johnson (6-1, 215), and put him with a guy that may be a little bit more of a glider and a galloper in Brown (5-10, 185). On the other side we have Michael Dyer and Jordan James and we’ve got the same thing. You’ve got a little quicker and more explosive in James and you’ve got more of a workhorse in Dyer. So we tried to do that on both sides.”

Dyer, an Auburn commitment from Little Rock, Ark., is a five-star recruit who is rated the number one back in America by ESPNU. James is a UCLA commitment.

Not surprisingly, Brown and Johnson are feeling a lot of regional pride.

“Oh yeah,” Brown said. “We’ve been talking about this the last two months.”

“You look and me and Mack live 10 minutes apart,” Johnson said. “Mike Thornton (of Stephenson) is from right around the corner. Alec Ogletree (of Newnan) lives about 20 minutes away, Michael Taylor (of Westlake) lives 20 or 30 minutes away. It says a lot about the football we play around here.”

Johnson feels like he has the most to prove. Despite rushing for 1,937 yards and 31 touchdowns in 11 games for Loganville, he is ranked 23rd at his position by Rivals.com and 47th by Scout.com.

“For me, I’ve got to prove a point,” Johnson said. “I’m not even ranked in the Scout or Rivals 250 or 150 or whatever it is. I’ve been working hard for this. I’m probably more ready for this game than anybody.”

The two DeKalb backs have been meeting every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at the Lithonia gym owned by Johnson’s father, Champion Bodies, and pushing each other in workouts.

It has been particularly good for Brown, who was plagued all season with a hamstring injury that limited him to just over 1,000 yards rushing in 11 games. Sohe feels like he has a lot to prove, too.

“It’s a good way to showcase your talent,” said Brown, whostill feels some effects of the hamstring injury. “There will be a lot of All-Americans on the field at one time. You want to earn their respect and show them what you can do. I’m going to run hard every play.”

Just being named to the Under Armour All-America team is an honor. But Brown and Johnson want to stand out in the game as well.

“It’s feels great,” Brown said of being an Under Armour All-American. “It feels like you’ve accomplished something. It means a lot of people recognize your talent.”

56 comments Add your comment

BMDPD

December 29th, 2009
9:27 am

First? Who Cares?

toph

December 29th, 2009
9:34 am

Ha, not first!!

t

December 29th, 2009
9:44 am

If it ain’t an in-state college we don’t want to hear about it!

Vick=Dog killing thug

December 29th, 2009
9:57 am

What about Ken Malcome, the UGA commit? Any news on him lately?

Frank

December 29th, 2009
10:02 am

Good luck to all of these kids and I hope there are no injuries to anyone during the practices or game.

THWGT!!!!!!

dekalb fan

December 29th, 2009
10:03 am

Two outstanding kids that I have had the pleasure of watching grow into Great football players and better men. Both of these young men have extremely positive FATHERS in their lives. “T”, you said if it is not an in state college you don’t want to hear about it.Well hear this, I have said more than once this year, UGA has 0 players from Dekalb County on their roster this year. Everyone associated with UGA agrees that this year is a disappointing one. Tech has Roddy Jones (Chamblee), Stephen Hill (Miller Grove), Michael Johnson (Stephenson), Cooper Taylor (Marist), just to name a few. In UGA’s better years thay had Kregg Lumpkin, Demario Minter, and others from Dekalb. Maybe next year will be better with the addition of Stripling and Malcom (SWD). Conicidence or not facts are facts.

toph

December 29th, 2009
10:09 am

Georgia commit, Ken Malcome is playing the Offense/Defense game.

Vick=Dog killing thug

December 29th, 2009
10:11 am

toph

December 29th, 2009
10:12 am

The game is down at Myrtle Beach.

toph

December 29th, 2009
10:12 am

Yeah, no problem Vick. . . .

LizDawg

December 29th, 2009
10:21 am

Looking forward to seeing more future Dawgs play, I’m sure they enjoyed 30-24 just as much as we all did – there goes Caleb King UNTOUCHED for another Touchdown Georgia!

toph

December 29th, 2009
10:24 am

It would be nice to see a breakdown of Georgia’s recruits, what games they are playing in and where they will on TV at. Same for Ga Tech and other commits from Georgia. Chip, is there anyway you can research that and put that together for us? That would be great man! Keep up the good work!

KD

December 29th, 2009
10:41 am

Wait a freaking minute, Storm is saying that he and Mack live about 10 minutes apart. Mack at MLK, not sure what city that is close to, and Storm, that played at Loganville from Buford. I am not too sure but that is some pretty fast traveling to go from Central Dekalb to Loganville in Walton County. Maybe the GHSA should take a look into this, I have heard from Loganville people that Storm does not even live in the Loganville area, I wonder if he ever lived in the Buford area.

DC 2 DC

December 29th, 2009
10:43 am

Is it only me, or did anyone else ask himself, “how does a kid who lives 10 minutes from MLK’s Brown, and works out in his dad’s gym in Lithonia, end up playing in Loganville?”. I wish the best for both of these guys, but there is really nothing to prove just because you’re not in the top 150 or 250 of someone’s list. You have proven the type of player you are when a great school makes an offer, which you have committed to.

K

December 29th, 2009
11:10 am

MLK is in Lithonia, close to Stone Mt. The 10 minutes might have been an exaggeration, but to get to Loganville is only about 20 minutes. if you take Hwy 124 Lithonia is 13 mile from Hwy 78. So they are close relatively speaking. It also said the Newnan was 20 minutes away from Dekalb county…..?

KD

December 29th, 2009
11:19 am

If you start in downtown Loganville and up Hwy 78 toward Snellville, it will take you more than 10 minutes to get to the red light at 78 & scenic hwy, then if you turn left on centerville hwy it will take you another 20 minutes or more just to reach the Dekalb County line, then you have to try and locate MLK high school which might be another 30 minutes or longer, my point is there should be an investigation by the GHSA on this situation.

K

December 29th, 2009
11:31 am

No there shouldn’t. The kid’s father owns a business in Dekalb County…so what? No big deal!…if they were willing to drive to Loganville or Buford everyday then so beit…and BTW the kids don’t live at the school and if you think the southern Gwinnett County teams that close to Dekalb county don’t have Dekalb players littered all over them, then you are living with blinders on!

Sickandtired

December 29th, 2009
11:39 am

I have tried to refrain from getting on these blogs, but I have had enough. Are you (KD) seriously wasting your time and brain power trying to discredit a kid on his approximation of the distance from his home to the home of his friend? It has been extremely eyeopening to see the absolute disdain that people can show for a child. You do recognize that these are children, right? So for all of the “haters”, please grow up and find something more meaningful to do with your lives.

KD

December 29th, 2009
11:41 am

To K, Georgia high school rules states that you should live in the district in which you live in order to go to that school. My point is that Storm probably does not meet that criteria.

K

December 29th, 2009
11:42 am

Sickandtired- Agreed! Have a good day!

Sickandtired2

December 29th, 2009
11:48 am

Actually, for all you people worried about the criteria..I know the Johnson’s personally and they do live directly across the street from Loganville High School..Storm was could walk out his front door and onto Loganville’s football field. And yes, he did live in Buford we he attended there also..any other questions you have that you would like for me to answer?

TampaGator

December 29th, 2009
11:51 am

KD—-why???????????????????????????????????? your posts??????????? Does it matter??? This blog isn’t about that. But I am glad these kids get to play against competition that is their equal…as it helps them realize that they are not so special and it will take a lot of hard work to be successful at the next level…and especially at the level after that. The Gators will put about 15 to 20 lbs. on Brown and he is going to be a special back there. Johnson will fit into what Miami does in the running game as well. I hope both are very successful in college…and this weekend. Good luck to you both.

Flo-Ri-Duh!

December 29th, 2009
11:55 am

They are going to school where they want to go and I wish them luck but I wish Florida an 0-12 season in ‘10. That won’t effect Brown because he will be redshirted anyway until Urban Meyer makes up his mind of when or if he is coming back.. He’s letting someone else take the lumps this coming season – then MAYBE he will return.

sansho1

December 29th, 2009
11:58 am

Another former DeKalb RB, Warren Norman (Chamblee), was named SEC Freshman of the Year. He broke Herschel’s SEC record for all-purpose yards by a freshman and tied the conference record with three TD KO returns.

The Sham

December 29th, 2009
12:01 pm

People people people… He grew up there – he doesn’t live there now! I grew up in NC, MI, MN and CA before I moved to GA. Does that mean I have to go to a school in one of those states to play ball here… It’s called reading and comprehension you MORONS! Maybe you need to go back to school (somewhere other than where you grew up preferably).

Storm Trooper

December 29th, 2009
12:13 pm

Johnson is actually ranked #5 at ESPNU, just looked it up..Good Luck to both young men.

Ron

December 29th, 2009
12:20 pm

If you take I-20 from Lithonia, exit Sigman Road (next exit from Turner Hill Road, then highway 20 straight into Logansville, a 15 – 20 min. drive.

DC 2 DC

December 29th, 2009
12:24 pm

Who really gives a darn about these rankings?! Wasn’t Caleb King the #1 ranked RB in the country coming out of high school. Not to slight Caleb, but there are a few other backs from that class who are doing a tad better.

And Sham – I didn’t mean to start an uproar, but Storm’s comment said he and Mack “LIVE” (not “liveD”) 10 minutes away.

Chip Towers

December 29th, 2009
1:08 pm

DC 2 DC, KD: I believe Storm grew up 10 minutes from Mack but I’m pretty certain he moved away in high school. Mack said something about the Johnsons converted their old house into the original Champion Bodies gym. But the Johnsons also have another gym location in Stone Mountain and think they may have a third in South Georgia somewhere. I’m not certain which one they work out at. The point is, as high-profile a player as Storm is, starring at perennial power Buford and then transferring to Loganville, you can be sure the GHSA has checked all this out. And that’s not the point anyway.

dekalb fan

December 29th, 2009
1:12 pm

Warren “Hound Dog” Norman also played his park ball at Central Dekalb. Along with Nigel Mitchell-Thornton (Tennessee), Tyrone Cornelius (Miami commit), Mfon Udofia (GT Basketball Player), Joel Kight (MLK, & Miss State), and countless others who have gone on to play in High School and college. Central Dekalb has a tremendous youth program as evidenced by the above mentioned names.

idon'tcare

December 29th, 2009
1:14 pm

There is a sub-division right across from the Loganville football field, but no other house around the area. To sickand tired2, do you know the name of the sub-division ? And there is not any houses around the high school, it is completely secluded from residentail areas

dekalb fan

December 29th, 2009
1:21 pm

Chip, I think your report about two local kids who started playing football together and now have excelled at the High School level is excellent. Ignore the bloggers who are trying to poke holes in the story. The fact is both of these young men have been led by Superb Fathers and they are now seeing the fruit of their labor. Thank you for the report, we should see more stories like this. Last year in the O-D game in Myrtle Beach we had 13 Georgians and no coverage. Stephen Hill led the East with 4 receptions for 111 yards and a TD. I think we need more focus on the kids in the Metro Atlanta area. Dekalb is rich in football talent and deserves a lot more coverage. Thanks again Chip.

Chip Towers

December 29th, 2009
1:45 pm

DeKalb Fan: Thanks. I’ll be mentioning the Offense-Defense game later. There’s also a Border Wars Game between Florida and Georgia players down in Thomas County on Jan. 9.

TampaGator

December 29th, 2009
1:46 pm

Nobody cares if there are any houses around the school…blog about recruiting or go read and post somewhere else.

Chip….as a Gator fan, I am interesting in what the recruits are saying about Meyer’s deal…if anything. From what I have read elsewhere, it has had little or no impact, after the initial concern, on the Gators recruiting efforts. Any info from you on this?

Chip Towers

December 29th, 2009
1:56 pm

TampaGator: There are only two players from Georgia currently committed to Florida and that’s Mack Brown and Neiron Ball. Brown says he’s concerned but holding tight and Ball hasn’t returned my calls. . . . As for other Gators commitments they seem to be holding strong for the most part. I don’t expect many changes at Florida or Georgia despite the uncertainties. And that’s the way it ought to be with such elite programs.

toph

December 29th, 2009
2:16 pm

Very true Chip. It shows how well both Georgia and Florida recruit and have solie commitments. However, this may changed as staff are added to both teams, including several defensive players.

toph

December 29th, 2009
2:25 pm

boy, lots of spelling and grammer mistakes, my bad

Sickandtired

December 29th, 2009
3:51 pm

Ok, idontcare, you just answered your own question apparently. Its an oximoronic statement to say that there is no subdivision after stating that there is one right across from the football field. Which one is it? I know, I know… there is one. But once again, this is still diverting the attention away from two kids who are doing great things. Our society needs positive stories and adults should be modeling the behvior (even in a blog) we want youth to exhibit as they become adults. I will do so right now. Mack and Storm, I am filled with pride for your accomplishments and I wish you both luck as you move forward.

brick

December 29th, 2009
4:07 pm

Chip, I think starring at Buford is the wrong word, he wasn’t the starter at Buford his Jr year. So to counter your point, a backup transferring probably isn’t a big deal to the GHSA. But Storm had an excellent season at Loganville, congrats to him and his OL.

TampaGator

December 29th, 2009
4:35 pm

The five star recruits…Powell, the DE/TE from California, and Dunkley, the WR from Florida, were both set to announce to the Gators. I heard both have pulled back for now. Powell was coming to Gainesville mostly because of Meyer. He was totally taken back by what happened. I hear he is completely opening back up his recruitment now. I also have heard the Dunkley is ready to do the same…and may, in fact, be leaning to Bama now. Also, Elam was shocked and has let FSU back in the door…and rumor has it he is now a lean to West Virgina with his teammate, the WR, who just committed to the Gators. Gerald Christian (the other of the 3 big time Dwyer teammates), I hear, is now considering Miami and FSU. He is a current commitment to the Gators. And the #1 OL, Henderson from Ohio, has let it be known that he was a Gator lean but is no longer. So the Meyer situation is and has had a negative impact on recruiting. It will be interesting to see how things work out when the coaches all get back on the road next week and Meyer starts making phone calls to let them know what his intentions are. I am still in shock about what happened. I think Meyer, and Foley, could have handled this situation better. It seems like Meyer let his emotions get the best of him…both when he resigned and when he un-resigned. Ex-Florida players are also coming out and saying having a interim coach is not a good idea for the program. They think Meyer should resign immediately or announce that he is coming back immediately. I expect, after the bowl game, the Gator SI department will announce that Meyer will take off from now until the beginning of the summer…and then will come back full time for summer practice and coach next year. They will have to if they want to maintain and add to the recruiting class, which was looking like it was going to be the best in the country this year.

rockytopdoc

December 29th, 2009
5:14 pm

what was the outcome of the game, is it over. Any word on Robert Brown, running back westside high, Macon. He’s the most ubderrated RB in the state, 6′0″, 200lbs, 1900yrds rushing, 19 touchdowns and no offers. What’s up with that???

rockytopdoc

December 29th, 2009
5:17 pm

correction, 1917 yards, 22 TDs, in regular season before playoffs!

LizDawgs Mom

December 29th, 2009
8:37 pm

I’m looking forward to more Jackets coming to play. I know they enjoyed the beat down in athens last year. 45-42 !!! There goes Roddy, he’s on the loose again.! RUN RODDY RUN!!! You guys keep bringing up 30-24, will keep reminding 45-42. Enjoy the Fluke rednecks ;)

Depressed Dawg. The blogger formerly know as Big L

December 29th, 2009
8:45 pm

well let’s git the boy to athens.

Depressed Dawg. The blogger formerly know as Big L

December 29th, 2009
8:49 pm

Fluke? Is 8 out of 9 a fluke? Is leading the all time series a fluke? I say the nay madam. UGA beating Ga Yech is like the sun coming up. It’s just the proper state of things.

Depressed Dawg. The blogger formerly know as Big L

December 29th, 2009
9:05 pm

From a real dawg fan. I don’t need to bring up the score from the most recent game. Uou Yechies keep putting it in your own posts. We got your ueads so wrapped arounf our Dawg tails you can’t even think strait. Tee Hee

GT IS STILL A 4TH RATE HIGH SCHOOL TEAM

December 29th, 2009
9:29 pm

RECRUITS GOING TO THE YELLOW TUCKS LIKES TO BE IN HIGH SCHOOL FOREVER. HAHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA FOREVER AND EVER.

GT IS STILL A 4TH RATE HIGH SCHOOL TEAM

December 29th, 2009
9:31 pm

RECRUITS GOING TO YELLOW TUCKS LIKES TO SEE THEIR IMAGE AT THE END OF THEIR STREAM IN THOSE WATERLESS URINALS OF THE CALLAWAY GARDENS. A VERY CLASSY WAY TO REALLY SEE YOUR PROPER PLACE IN THE ORDER OF THINGS IN THIS UNIVERSE. HAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAAHHAHA FOREVER AND EVER.

GT IS STILL A 4TH RATE HIGH SCHOOL TEAM

December 29th, 2009
9:32 pm

AND WILL ALWAYS BE FOREVER AND EVER.

js

December 29th, 2009
10:12 pm

The good thing about UGA’s recruiting class is most Defensive commitments (except Bostic) sound pretty solid. When we hire a new DC it’s going to create some positive energy out there for some on the fence recruits. Keep in mind January is going to be Richt’s most active recruiting month with home visits w/new DC etc…..