The latest video on steelers.com features a day in the life of Pittsburgh Steelers fullback Will Johnson and in it, the undrafted player out of West Virginia talks about how he is always striving to be as good athletically as San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis.
“I figured I would write everyone\’s names – I would take a great player and past people from combines that had good numbers and the guy I chose is Vernon Davis, a guy I studied a lot and watched on Youtube,” said Johnson. “I wrote all of his combine numbers up and I taped them on the bathroom door so every morning I woke up and walked to the restroom, I would see those numbers and say, \’I\’m going to get close to them or I\’m going to beat them.\'”
While Johnson will likely never match several of the numbers that Davis posted during the 2006 NFL Combine, he did improve his forty-yard dash and bench numbers that he posted at his own 2011 pro day when he showed up for the Mountaineers 2012 pro day That 2012 performance led to the Steelers signing him immediately to their offseason roster last spring.
“When I got done running my routes, I was over there talking to [Tomlin], and he wanted me to keep it a secret so the other teams didn\’t know,” Johnson said in a March 2012 interview. “They said they liked what I did, they liked how I look, and they wanted to bring me up and sign me.”
Johnson was one of the several undrafted college players who got lost in the wash in 2011 thanks to the lockout taking place, and he certainly beat the odds by getting himself signed a year later.
Johnson certainly didn\’t disappoint during his rookie season as he registered 15 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown in addition to being an adequate lead blocker in the Steelers backfield.
Moving forward into 2013, Johnson is a virtual lock to make the 53 man roster this year and general manager Kevin Colbert gushed about him during an interview this past spring at the 2013 NFL Combine.
“Will Johnson did a great job for us,” Colbert said during his February media session. “We signed Will out of the West Virginia pro day last year as a free agent, a fullback candidate, and quite honestly, he exceeded our expectations. We didn\’t know what he was going to be able to do because he really didn\’t do much of what we asked him to do at West Virginia. He was more of backside-move, kind of tight end. In our situation, he became a traditional fullback and did a great job, so we\’re hoping he can continue it.”
Johnson says that he is working out with former Steelers tight end Jerame Tuman at Crossfit Raw in Pittsburgh as he prepares for training camp to begin later this month.