2026’s Parker Johnson brings selflessness and tenacity to the gridiron | Youth1

2026’s Parker Johnson brings selflessness and tenacity to the gridiron

Parker Johnson is putting his name on the map as one of the emerging Midwest prospects in the Class of 2026. 

 

The 5-foot-8, 153-pound Johnson plays running back, outside linebacker, and ATH for the Centerville Elks in Ohio. 

 

Last season in six games, Johnson amassed 1,016 yards from scrimmage (906 rushing,  110 receiving).

 

Johnson brings a workmanlike mentality to both sides of the ball and on every possession. 

“Fight for every yard, every inch,” Johnson said. “On defense, read and react. Make the easy play and prevent the big plays.”

Johnson has an impressive collection of accolades so far. Johnson has attended QB Collective and Next Gen in addition to being a two-time Showtime Elite selection and D1 Spec All-American champion (played up for Team Georgia’s 12U team). 

Johnson believes the recognition he’s receiving directly correlates to his effort level. 

“For me it’s just affirmation of all the hard work that I do behind the scenes, the work that doesn’t make my YouTube or Hudl,” Johnson said. “The accolades are a testament of my grind. It was an amazing feeling to be able to compete against the best and showcase my talents on the same fields as other athletes my caliber.”

 

Johnson is keenly aware of the significance of his coaches in his development not just as a player but as a person. 

“My former coach used to have huddles where it wasn't about the game or the practice. He would talk about the game as it relates to the journey into a better life,” Johnson said. “He always referred to it as our journey. The best advice my coaches give is to stay humble and stay hungry.”

In turn, Johnson takes on a leadership role on his team and tries to be a steadying force for his teammates. 

“I put in overtime. I will help break down a play or plays if a teammate I have had was struggling to understand it. I also really believe the team is first, while I may get some light shined here and there for my efforts, I couldn’t do it without the team,” Johnson said. “The best advice I give is that the game is more than wins and losses.”

Johnson's most fondest moment on the football field is a tale of redemption. 

“My favorite memory is the first Super Bowl title and us finally getting over the hump,” Johnson said. “We always lost to one team, and to finally move on past them to win a championship was amazing.”

For Johnson, the game of football has served as a microcosm for life. 

“Playing football has taught me that no matter how much you think you deserve something, it doesn't mean you will get it,” Johnson said. “No one owes you nothing.”

Johnson embraces the rush of adrenaline from giving it his all on the gridiron. 

“I love the feeling I get from competition, the rush of it being my 11 vs their 11,” Johnson said. 

Johnson has set a specific goal for when he gets to the high school level. 

“I want to play JV as a freshman, and really just keep working hard and improving my game to get to the next level,” Johnson said. 

After that, Johnson has a list of colleges that he’s striving to get on their radar. 

“My top college choices would be University of Cincinnati, University of Louisville, Clemson University, Alabama, LSU, and Auburn,” Johnson said. 

Johnson’s favorite subject in school right now is math because of his love of numbers. 

Johnson admires past standouts and current stars in the NFL. 

“A former player I look up to is Marshawn Lynch. He was so hungry and he played like he was grateful to play,” Johnson said. “A current player I look up to is Saquan Barkley. He is really good and he is about helping his team no matter what.”

Johnson details what his daily routine consists of in terms of physical training.  

“I’m doing pushups, and weight lifting,” Johnson said. “Those are things I can do alone to help build my strength.”

Johnson emphasizes that his family gives him the strength and confidence to pursue his dreams to the max. 

“My family is so supportive. I have a mom and dad that are constantly making sure we are aware of the right things to do or don’t do,” Johnson said. “My dad tells me great character will produce a strong work ethic. And a strong work ethic will provide you with the skills and the direction for providing great leadership.”

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