• Freshman All-America (second team) by The Sporting News (1998)
• Freshman All-America (honorable mention) by Football News (1998)
• All-Southeastern Conference (second team) by The Associated Press (1999)
A two-year starter at defensive end … Played very well in the spring, showing no ill effects from the injury that held him back last season … His improving strength is helping make his remarkable speed and quickness even more effective … Size and leaping ability make him a formidable kick blocker … Has blocked four kicks in his career, three field goals and a punt, including a blocked field goal in the 1999 Music City Bowl … Has played in 23 regular-season games, starting 18.
2000 (Junior): Sidelined by a high ankle sprain in the Louisville game … Did not play the rest of the season … Received a medical hardship and retained the year of eligibility.
1999 (Sophomore): Played and started every game ... Garnered second-team All-SEC honors from The Associated Press ... A big-play performer who had a quarterback sack, tackle for loss, or blocked a kick in every game but two ... Totaled 39 tackles, leading the team in quarterback sacks with five (-33 yards) ... Added six tackles for loss (-26), tops among the Wildcat linemen ... Played his best game when the team needed it most in the bowl-clinching win over Vanderbilt ... Had a career-high seven tackles against the Commodores, including two quarterback sacks and a tackle for loss ... Combined with Otis Grigsby to pressure the quarterback into an intentional grounding call in the end zone ... The play was ruled a safety and provided the margin of victory in Kentucky’s 19-17 win ... Blocked a field goal at Arkansas, swinging the momentum back in favor of Kentucky ... Blocked a punt at Mississippi State, setting up a UK touchdown ... Had five tackles, including two for loss, and blocked a field goal in the Music City Bowl.
1998 (Freshman): Chosen second-team Freshman All-America by The Sporting News and honorable-mention Freshman All-America by Football News ... Played in every game ... Broke into the starting lineup at Arkansas and started the last six regular-season games, along with the Outback Bowl ... Led the UK defensive ends with 26 tackles ... Season high of four tackles came against Mississippi State and Tennessee ... Made a number of big plays ... Had three tackles for loss (-5) ... His two quarterback sacks (-29) both came against Vanderbilt ... One sack forced a fumble that Marlon McCree returned for a touchdown ... Blocked a field goal at Arkansas ... Recovered two fumbles ... Bottled up a reverse on Indiana’s final possession of UK’s 31-27 win.
High School: Six-year starter in the defensive line and a five-year regular in the offensive line at Harrodsburg (Ky.) HS ... National Player of the Year as chosen by Sports Illustrated, the Touchdown Club of Atlanta, and recruiting analyst Tom Lemming ... National Defensive Player of the Year by USA Today, The Sporting News and Parade magazine ... First-team All-America by Parade ... Regional Player of the Year by the Gatorade Circle of Champions ... Won the “Mr. Football” Award and the Johnny Unitas/Frank Camp Award from the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame as the player of the year in Kentucky ... Also the Kentucky Player of the Year by USA Today and Ale 8 One/Kentucky Coaches ... Senior season statistics include 150 total tackles, including 37 tackles for loss and 18 quarterback sacks ... Also punted for a 39.2-yard average ... Had an amazing and unusual career ... Played his first high school game when he was in the second grade ... Also played some in third grade, then a rule was passed banning elementary students from playing on the high school level ... Returned to the high school field in seventh grade ... Became the first eighth-grader in Kentucky history to be named first-team all-state, an honor he earned five consecutive years ... All totaled, he played in eight high school seasons ... During his last six varsity seasons, he amassed 521 tackles, 76 sacks, 140 tackles for loss, 42 fumbles caused, 25 fumble recoveries, and 19 blocked kicks ... Also had 200 pancake blocks as an offensive lineman ... Harrodsburg HS reached the state finals in Class A his senior and junior seasons ... Harrodsburg went to the state semifinals the previous three years ... Coached by his father, Alvis Johnson ... Also a standout in basketball and track ... Played five seasons of varsity basketball and won all-district, all-area, and all-region honors three times ... Five-year letterman on the track team ... Has won three state championships in the shot put, two state titles in the discus throw, and one state championship in the triple jump ... Also a one-year regional champ in the high jump and has placed fifth in the state in the long jump ... In 1996, Dennis and Derrick Johnson became the first brothers to be named first-team all-state in Kentucky in the same season ... Honor Roll student who was also involved with Beta Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the student council ... Dennis chose Kentucky over Notre Dame, Florida, Miami (Fla.), and Colorado.
Personal: Full name is Dennis Alan Johnson... Born 12-4-79 in Danville, Ky. ... Son of Alvis and Rosetta Johnson ... Alvis played football at Western Kentucky and is now an assistant athletics director at UK ... Dennis’ uncle, Butch Cook, played football at Mississippi Valley State ... An uncle, Terry Johnson, and a cousin, Eric Johnson, each played football at Kentucky State ... Dennis’ brother, Derrick, is a senior defensive lineman on the UK football team ... Major is kinesiology.
The Cats’ Cause: Guest speaker at Fellowship of Christian Athletes breakfast at the Music City Bowl (1999) … Guest speaker at Collins Lane Elementary School (1999-2000).
Johnson Career Statistics
Year Position G-GS Tackles TFL-Yds. Sacks-Yds. FR FC Block 1998 Def. End 11-6 26 5-34 2-29 2 1 1 1999 Def. End 11-11 39 11-59 5-33 0 1 2 2000 Def. End 1-1 2 0 0 0 0 0 Totals 23-18 67 16-93 7-62 2 2 3Johnson Game-by-Game Statistics
1998 Opponent Tackles TFL Sacks Louisville 3 1-3 0 Eastern Kentucky 1 0 0 Indiana 2 1-1 0 Florida 1 0 0 Arkansas 3 0 0 South Carolina 1 0 0 Louisiana State 1 0 0 Georgia 3 0 0 Mississippi State 4 0 0 Vanderbilt 3 3-30 2-29 Tennessee 4 0 0 Totals 26 5-34 2-29 Penn State 4 0 0 (Outback Bowl)