The New York Jets would have themselves a high-character lineman in Paris Johnson Jr.
INDIANAPOLIS — They say a man’s relationship with his mother can say a lot about him as a person.
For presumptive first-round NFL draft prospect Paris Johnson Jr., his mom has always been his rock. It’s she whom the Ohio State offensive tackle credits being in the position he is today: one of the top offensive tackles in the entire draft class.
“She’s walked with me on my journey since the start, from when I told her I wanted to take it to the highest level,” Johnson said during his combine podium session. “There’s not a lot of parents that would do that, to believe in a kid that early. I told her the stuff I wanted to do [in life] and she [made it happen].”
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According to Johnson, his mother, Monica Daniels, made countless sacrifices for the betterment of her son. This included selling her house so he could enroll early at Ohio State, as well as quitting her job to take him on, in his own words, “ten thousand college visits.”
Even from an early age, long before Johnson had fallen in love with the game of football, Daniels was pushing her son to try all different kinds of sports.
“My very first sport as a kid was hockey, and then I was in gymnastics,” he said. “I wasn’t in gymnastics long, but my mom happened to put me in all types of sports. I played tee-ball, I played soccer, I’ve done wrestling…”
Johnson was quick to add how much he hated wrestling, but appreciated the overlaps with how it helps with football — mental toughness, physicality, endurance, etc.
Later in the podium session, the topic came up of Johnson’s charity, the Paris Johnson Jr. Foundation. He prefaced his response by again tying it back to his mother.
“My mom, she sacrificed for me… a whole bunch of things. I keep going down the list… but there’s a lot of families who literally can’t afford to sacrifice anything, really.”
Johnson went on to talk at length about his foundation — which works to serve veterans and student athletes — and what inspired him to start it in the first place:
“[As a kid], I wanted to be able to get to a level in life where I can be able to say something and things will be able to happen and be influenced. But I want it to be for the right things… I feel like when I was a kid, I saw a lot of people that [were] looked up to, that used their platform for things that were irrelevant and meaningless, and people followed that, they flock to that. So I feel like for me, I want to use my platform to glorify God and to be able to help other people… I’ve always had a passion for veterans that are homeless and disabled, and I think those people should be taken care of.”
According to the website, the Paris Johnson Jr. foundation has already raised $15,000 and counting.
We know New York Jets GM Joe Douglas has a strong affinity for high-character draft prospects. This should, in theory, when paired with the Jets’ massive need at tackle, be a pretty good indicator that Johnson is high up on Gang Green’s radar.
So again, they say a man’s relationship with his mother can say a lot about him as a person. For Paris Johnson Jr., that appears to very much be the case.
Ian Roddy is on Twitter @IanRoddy_