Johnson to be NCAA coverboy

By Christopher Kamrani, Asst. Sports Editor

He became the staple of the only undefeated team in college football, along with proving to be one of the most clutch players in Utah history, and former Utah quarterback Brian Johnson is still making waves donning a Ute uniform.

And this time, his recognition will be a surefire hit.

Johnson, the 2008 Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Year, was selected to be on the cover of EA Sports’ “NCAA Football 10” for the PlayStation 3 console. The last time a non-BCS conference player has been on the cover since Boise State’s Jared Zabranksy was pitted on the 2008 version of the video game after his Broncos squad shocked the Oklahoma Sooners 43-42 in overtime of that year’s Fiesta Bowl.

The Baytown, Texas, native announced the news while he was a guest on the Mtn.’s weekly program, “Around the Mountain,” on April 15.

When asked what was the best opportunity he’s had following Utah’s 31-17 Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama, Johnson replied, “I think the best thing is obviously getting a chance to be on the cover of the NCAA football game. That’s something that you dream of as a little kid and once you get that opportunity to finally be on the cover of a video game, that’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

Johnson’s five-year reign in Salt Lake City saw him become the winningest starting quarterback in Utah football history, going 26-7 during his up-and-down time at the U, which was often marred by serious injuries.

Although there are theories regarding athletes having their careers jinxed on account of being the model of a collegiate video game, a former Heisman Trophy Winner doesn’t buy into the hype.

“None whatsoever,” said Andre Ware, ESPN’s “College GameDay” analyst after the official announcement was made Monday evening. “Brian Johnson had a great season last year. A phenomenal season for Utah. He’s being rewarded for it.”

The game is scheduled to be released sometime in the middle-to-late summer of 2009.
Johnson is preparing for his shot at the next level with the 2009 NFL Draft approaching. Johnson could hear his name called on either April 25 or April 26 during the two-day event in New York City.

The former Ute is listed as one of the top 25 quarterbacks available in the draft according to

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A screen shot of ?NCAA Football 10? shows Brian Johnson playing at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Johnson is featured on the PlayStation 3 cover of the game.