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2023 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Malik Johnson, DB, Central State University

Malik Johnson the standout defensive back from Central State University recently sat down with Justin Berendzen of Draft Diamonds.
Malik Johnson the standout defensive back from Central State University recently sat down with Justin Berendzen of Draft Diamonds.
  • Name: Malik Johnson
  • Postion: DB
  • College: Central State University
  • Height: 6’2″
  • Weight: 190 lbs
  • Twitter: @KilamMj
  • Instagram: @mjohnson.3

What made you decide you wanted to be a football player?

What made me decide I wanted to be a football player was during my junior year of high school. I was a 6’ 2″ shooting guard and the recruiting process was slow. I had friends that played on the school football team telling me that I could be a good football player with my athletic background. I went out there the summer going into my senior year and the rest is history!

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What are you looking to achieve as a football player going forward?

As a football player, I am looking to achieve my goal of learning and perfecting my craft while playing at the next level. I want to be on a larger platform where I can inspire the next generation.

If you could hang out with any football player past or present for a day who and why?

If I could hang out with any player it would be Deion Sanders. I wasn’t around to watch him play, but from his highlights and hearing people talk about him he was an outstanding athlete as well as role model. I would just love to pick his brain about the game. Another reason I would hang out with him is to thank him for the light he brought to HBCU’s. Historically Black Colleges already have a rich history but in my opinion he took it to another level.

What are your favorite moments from your football life?

My favorite moments from my football life is receiving my first offer, but next to that is coming back from a season ending injury, rehabbing and training all off season. Coming back this season, first game being on NFL Network in Canton where I started my college career.

Which one of your family members inspires you the most and why?

I have a lot of great role models in my life but the 2 that inspires me the most is my mom and my older brother. Growing up, I watched my mom go hard for the 3 of us day in and day out making sure we had everything we needed. Just making sure she did everything in her power to make sure we put our best foot forward in whatever we did while raising 3 productive men keeping us out of harms way and from the streets. On the other hand, watching my older brother do what he do, and trying to imitate being the best version of myself. He set the standards high. A first-generation college graduate, 4 year starting quarterback at Morehouse College, now a Captain in the Marine Corp. I have no other option but to continue to be great!

What is your favorite defensive scheme and why?

With spread offenses becoming more popular in todays offensive schemes, my favorite defensive scheme is the 4-2-5 because we’re able to align against any spread formation. And what’s better than having 5 DB’s on the field?

What should we know about Malik Johnson the person?

I want to be the positive influence that I saw in my mom and older brother, for my younger brother and for everyone else watching. It’s not much to me as a person. What can I say, my story is still being written and I just want to be the best version of myself everyday.

What stands out about your film the most?

What’s stands out the most about my film is that each year I improve my game in some way. I am a long, rangy corner, that’s diverse. I can play whatever coverage a defensive coordinator wants to run. I played corner primarily but I can be plugged anywhere in the secondary.

How do you handle challenges both in life and on the football field?

It may sound cliche, but I’ve been dealing with adversity my entire life. I face adversity head on and take lessons from situations when possible to make myself stronger as a man. My mom always told me to “trust the process. Everything is not going to be perfect, you just have to keep working and have faith. Everything will fall in place.” I have a GREAT support system, so challenges are nothing to me.

What would a team get in a player like you?

A team will get a dedicated, hardworking, and diverse leader. I can run down on special teams and cause havoc. You can put me anywhere in the secondary and I will succeed.

What do you love the most about the game of football?

I love the process of the game. The older I got, the more I realized that the game of football is microcosm of life. The game gives you the ability to learn how to develop as a man. You learn life skills that assist with being selfless and successful. For example, you learn how to interact with different individuals that come from different walks of life in order to work as a team to accomplish a mission.

Who is the most underrated player you’ve played with and why?

The most underrated player I have played with would be my little brother Montego Johnson. He’s a player that had to wait his turn and when he got it he did what he had to do! He sat behind some good corners at Cedar Grove High School (the best football program in Georgia). His senior year was cut short due to COVID, but he’s at Central State University and he’s handling business there. It doesn’t matter where you go, it’s what you do.

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