We're featuring some of our HomeTeam 100 players, including our No. 57 player, Pasco ATH Malik Johns:
Malik Johns didn’t need to put pressure on himself last season on a loaded Pasco team led by experienced playmakers.
“Last year, I didn’t really worry if I had a bad game,” he said. “I just played. If I messed up, they’d have my back.”
This year, the responsibility is on Johns to mask others’ mistakes and become one of the Pirates’ focal points.
Johns has filled that role before. When an injury sidelined star athlete Janarion Grant for the first six games last season, Johns scored 10 touchdowns and returned punts for a score in each of the first four games. Only Grant — a Rutgers signee — and David Emmanuel had more than his 12 total touchdowns.
Johns (5-10, 170) won’t be expected to duplicate Grant’s success, but he will play all over the field like Grant, lining up at running back, receiver, wildcat quarterback, defensive back and kick/punt returner.
Johns embraced his new leadership roles by organizing 7-on-7 sessions over the summer. He also added five pounds to his frame to prepare for a pounding that won’t relent all season.
“He’s not going to come off the field at all,” Pirates coach Tom McHugh said