Eric Johnson earned his stripes at Benton Harbor

Published: May. 20, 2020 at 10:27 PM EDT
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Benton Harbor running back Eric Johnson was thrilled to be a team captain for the first time as a Tiger, and always looked out for his teammates.

"If we were doing sprints and someone was struggling, I would have to help and encourage them," Johnson said. "There were little things that I knew I had to show more as a team captain."

Ever since Johnson was little, it was his goal to be the running back at Benton Harbor. He made varsity as a sophomore but played nose guard. As a junior, Johnson played offensive tackle. And then, after a lot of hard work, Johnson was named the starting running back for his senior season.

"Every day after practice in my junior year, I would run sprints just to show that I’m hungry for the position," Johnson said. "When I got the position, I kept doing that to let them know I’m doing whatever it takes to keep it."

Johnson does whatever it takes at all times, and the number on his chest explains it best.

"I felt like [wearing] 23," Johnson said. "I’m a senior I can pick any number I want. I felt eligible enough to get 23 and I did."

He wears number 23 for his two brothers and his three sisters.

Both of his brothers were named Edward Lindsey and passed away at a very young age. One of his brothers passed away at two months old in 2004, after having breathing troubles. The other died during Johnson's freshman year when an asthma attack turned into a heart attack. He was just 12 years old.

Johnson has their names tattooed on his bicep.

All of his sisters are fine, but Johnson always wanted to have family on his mind when he put on his jersey.

"Every day I say, 'I do this for y’all,'" Johnson said. "I always say that. Only the man above knows what that means so this is for y’all."

Johnson says he will continue to put family first in everything he does in life.

"I just know that anything, academics, athletics, anything I do it for them," Johnson said.