The evolution of professional football into a passing oriented sport has made the wide receiver position more critical since the turn of the century. Since then not many athletes have played that position better than former UM star Andre Johnson.
Bucky Brooks, an NFL.com analyst and scout, ranked his top-10 wide receiver prospects since 2001. Coming in at No. 2 on that list was Johnson who was drafted third overall by the Houston Texans in 2003. He trailed only Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson.
“It’s hard to find big-bodied receivers with the combination of size, speed, athleticism and ball skills Johnson displayed as the No. 1 receiver at ‘The U’ during the early 2000s,” Brooks said.
While a member of the Hurricanes from 2000-02, Johnson won the 2001 national championship and now ranks
At 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, Johnson “dominated opponents on the perimeter as a vertical playmaker with explosive route-running ability and exceptional ball skills,” Brooks said.
Speaking of the running ability, Johnson was also a star on the Miami track team. In 2002, he captured Big East titles in the 60-meter dash in 6.81 seconds and 100-meter dash in 10.59 seconds. That translated to a 4.40 40-yard dash on the football field.
His success at Miami then morphed into a stellar NFL career. Johnson made the Pro Bowl sevens times and is one of only 12 players in NFL history to reach 14,000 career receiving yards.
“Johnson is arguably the gold standard at the position,” Brooks said.
Andre Johnson was a prolific member of the Texans, and now the team is honoring him in a big way.
The former receiver will be inducted as the first member of Houston’s Ring of Honor, the team announced Tuesday.
Johnson’s induction will be on Nov. 19, when the Texans take on the Cardinals at NRG Stadium.
The Texans, who entered the NFL as an expansion team in 2002, drafted Johnson third overall in the 2003 draft. He spent 12 years in Houston and was selected to the Pro Bowl seven times.
Johnson spent 2015 with the Colts and played eight games with the Titans in 2016 before calling it a career. Of Johnson’s 1,062 career receptions, which rank 11th all-time in NFL history, all but 50 were with the Texans.
Johnson signed a one-day contract with the Texans in April so he could retire with the team.
Former Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson is the brightest star in the young team’s history and will make the perfect foundation piece for their Ring of Honor.
On Nov. 19, 2017, the Houston Texans will begin the tradition of honoring the best players to grace the franchise with the inclusion of Andre Johnson in the Ring of Honor, per Pro Football Talk. No player has been placed in the Ring of Honor yet, allowing Johnson to start as a foundation piece for a team that he carried for over a decade.
In 12 seasons with the Texans, Johnson was often the lone offensive threat. He posted 1,012 receptions for 13,597 yards and 64 touchdowns during his tenure with Houston. He is 11th all-time in receiving yards and 11th all-time in receptions in his career. He also led the NFL in receptions twice (2006 and 2008), yards twice (2008 and 2009 when he topped 1500 both years), and receiving yards per game three times (2007, 2009 and 2010). His production led to seven Pro Bowls and two All-Pro selections. To say that Johnson left a mark as a player would be an understatement.
And Johnson did it all without a consistent quarterback threat. Matt Schaub‘s seven seasons as the starter were the high point.
That comes with the territory of being an expansion franchise, though. Johnson joined the Texans a season after they joined the NFL and was the face of the franchise for the next 12 seasons. From 2-14 to 12-4, Johnson was there through it all.
It isn’t every day that a team manages to find a player with the skills that Johnson possessed or the longevity to have such an outsized impact. The Texans struck gold in Johnson when they made him the third overall selection in 2003. The team immediately found a foundation on which to build.
Just as Johnson was the foundation for the Texans franchise in its early years, he will now be the foundation for the Ring of Honor in which the best of the best will be honored. He clawed his way to the NFL leader boards through grit and hard work and proved that anyone can reach the top no matter which team they play for. His franchise records (receptions, yards, and receiving touchdowns) and nearly insurmountable for the next decade — even with DeAndre Hopkins tearing it up.
Johnson signed a one-day contact in April to retire with the Texans, a team he helped create and mold. That move was an honor to his team and an honor to the fans. Now, he will be honored in return.