Dakorey Johnson continues leaving his family’s mark in Manhattan

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(Photo by Taylor Alderman | The Collegian) Senior linebacker Dakorey Johnson, junior wide receiver Stanton Weber, and freshman linebacker Trent Tanking piling on Iowa State running back DeVondrick Nealy at Jack Trice Stadium on Sept. 6, 2014. The Wildcats defeated the Cyclones 32-38.

Quincy Morgan never pushed K-State on his younger brother Dakorey Johnson when he was looking to transfer from Trinity Valley Community College. So, the former star receiver for K-State was surprised when he found out that Johnson would be taking the torch for his family in Manhattan.

“You know, it’s funny, I never mentioned K-State to him,” Morgan said. “One day, he gets to K-State and he sends me a picture of our trophy cases. And I said, ‘Where did you get that picture?” and he said ‘I’m at K-State bro, I signed.’ So I was very proud, extra proud that my brother chose to follow in my footsteps and go to the same school that I did.”

The senior outside linebacker has made a splash for the K-State defense with his hard-hitting tackles and his high-caliber quickness.

“His speed is up there with most running backs and wide receivers,” senior middle linebacker Jonathan Truman said. “He’s very fast, at the same time he’s smart so he knows where to be on the field to make plays.”

In addition to his measurables, Johnson also has the intangible quality of making his plays count. It’s a quality that his older brother said he shares with Johnson.

“I think (it’s) his playmaking ability,” Morgan said. “When he’s on the field, he makes plays. He’s not the kind of guy thats going to make 10-11 tackles, but, when Dakorey is on the field, he’s making plays and that’s kind of the player that I was. I wasn’t going to get you 10 catches for 140 yards but, I was the kind of player who could get you 4 catches for 110 yards and three of those would be touchdowns. It’s a big-play factor. When my little brother is out there, he’s making big plays all over the field.”

The biggest of those big plays for Johnson came early in the season against Auburn, where Johnson picked off a deflected Nick Marshall pass, his second pick of his career.

When Morgan was asked about his little brother’s interception he let out a long laugh.

“You know, I was probably more excited than he was,” Morgan said. “I rewound it so I could record it on my phone. I recorded it on my TV and took a still shot of the interception and a video and I sent it to (Dakorey).”

Even with a 15 year age difference, the brothers have been close throughout Johnson’s life.

“When he was little he’d come up to my house and play video games all the time,” Morgan said. “I’d beat him all day, he wasn’t very good at video games so I’d beat him everyday.”

Morgan even remembers a mentoring moment with his little brother that he felt instilled a drive and a work ethic in Johnson.

“Dakorey looked at my highlights one time,” Morgan said. “He was critiquing me, he was still in high school and he was critiquing the way I played. So I said, ‘You know what, put your cleats and come work out with me.’ I don’t think he finished the workout that day, and I told him, ‘Hey, now you understand little brother, to get where I’ve been, it takes a lot of hard work.’ From that day on, I think his whole game changed. From high school, to what you see him doing now. It really showed him, you have to work hard to get what you want when you’re playing the game.”

The work ethic continued with Johnson as he went on to be a starter at North Mesquite High School under the tutelage of coach Mike Robinson.

“Dakorey was a very focused and driven player,” Robinson said. “I think by having a older brother like Quincy (Morgan) having the success that he had, Dakorey wanted to equal that or better. He was very driven to be successful.”

Now five years removed from wearing a Stallions’ jersey, Johnson left an impact on his coaches as one of the toughest players that they saw at North Mesquite.

“In my eight years here as head coach, he’s probably the hardest hitter that we’ve had to come through here,” Robinson said. “I mean, he loved to tackle and he tackled with a passion.”

Morris Thompson, position coach and assistant varsity coach for North Mesquite, still talks of Johnson’s effort to his current players.

“He’s worked for everything that he’s getting and for everything he has gotten,” Thompson said. “He made himself into what he is and I’m proud of him for it and I love him for it.”

After finishing high school, Johnson spent two years at a junior college, just like his brother before him.

Even with his two year stint as a Trinity Valley Community College Cardinal, Robinson had a hunch that more football was still in Johnson’s future.

“Had he not played D-I football somewhere, I would’ve thought that somebody missed out on a good player,” Robinson said. “I didn’t think his work ethic was going to drop off, I didn’t think his drive or passion to succeed was going to drop off. I was just hoping he’d get through and graduate and take care of business at Trinity Valley and then somebody would give him the opportunity to play on the next level. And it happened for him.”

Now Johnson dons the purple and answers to head coach Bill Snyder, just like his brother before him.

“Dakorey is a good player,” Snyder said. “He’s made headway. It’s been, kind of like I say all the time, the ups and downs. You know I think he’s a little better of a player right now than when he started the season. You know he’s had a couple ballgames that have been extremely good. The more he plays and the more he practices the better he’s gonna get. I think there’s a big upside for Dakorey right now.”

With the home stretch of the season still lying ahead of Johnson and his team, the possibility of a Cotton Bowl berth is still in play.

If they win out, Johnson and the Wildcats will most likely be heading to the Metroplex for a New Year’s Day bowl game, just like his brother before him.

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