After making an immediate impact on the gridiron the last four years as a member of the Boonville Pirates football team, senior Brandon Johnson will now have a chance to wreck havoc on teams in the MIAA Conference after signing a letter of intent last week at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph.
A four year starter for the Pirates at linebacker and defensive end on defense and tight end on offense, Johnson said he chose Missouri Western because of how the coached treated him.
“They treated me like family,” Johnson said. “From the very beginning they were the most loyal to me and never pulling their offer when I chose to go look at other plays. Along with the facilities being one of the best in the state, Missouri Western just overall felt like the right place for me.”
Boonville Pirates football coach Greg Hough said obviously Johnson is a fantastic athlete.
“His upside at the next level is tremendous,” Hough said. “Everybody knew where Brandon was on the field and teams had to game plan for him.  Realistically, long term, Brandon earned his ride. He earned his opportunity to go to the next level but I think Brandon probably more than anything got college recruiters coming back through the doors, which I think put his stamp on the program and will only open up doors and opportunities for other kids at Boonville just because those guys came to our school this year where maybe in the past they hadn’t.”
While playing on both sides of the ball for Boonville, Johnson definitely excelled more on the defensive side of the ball while finishing fourth at the defensive end position with 47 solo tackles and 21 assisted for a total of 68. He also had a team-leading 23.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and two caused fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Meanwhile, on the offensive side of the ball, Johnson finished with seven catches for 104 yards for an average of 14.86 yards per catch and 12 rushes for 84 yards for an average of 7 yards per carry.
Hough said Johnson was just a good all-around athlete.
“Brandon has god given talent, he has god given size and then you take good talent and great size and you put a great work ethic like he has, and the things that he can control and things he was always really good at, and you have a great athlete,” Hough said. “He is a Division I talent and that’s the thing I think people need to realize. Brandon had Division I opportunities but he made the best decision for himself and for his family and I am excited for him. I think he is going to have a fantastic season. I know Missouri Western feels like they are blessed to have him. If you watch all of their recruiting stuff, they don’t mention kids by name, but they always talk about the kid they took from a FCS school that’s going to make an immediate impact so I think they are excited to get Brandon on campus.”
Although Johnson made the switch from linebacker to defensive end his senior year, Hough said the skies the limit for Brandon. He said Johnson could go 290 pounds next year or he could be 265 with a six pack.
“He has the potential to go either way,” Hough said. “They are going to mold him into what they want to make him.”
Johnson said to play at the next level in one of the best conferences in the nation, his main priority to prepare himself for the rigors of college football  is to get better strength-wise.
“I cannot do anything if I am not strong enough to compete with others,” Johnson said. “The next step is going to be getting faster in everything I do so I can keep up with and pass my competition.”
Johnson also has both short and long term goals while playing at Missouri Western. He said his short-term goals is to be starting in 1-2 years at Missouri Western. As for his long term goals, he said are to win football honors and to win a national championship within 3-4 years.”
While earning all-conference three years running and all-district and all-state two years, Johnson said the highlight of his career would have to be the Hallsville game because it was freezing cold and wet. “That sounds crazy but I’ve never had that much fun playing football in my life because the field was nothing but mud everywhere,” Johnson said. “Before that game, Hallsville was talking so much trash on us but we played together as a team and won. If I had to highlight one of my personal highlights, it would have to be the time right after an interception while playing Eldon. Right after the interception I hit the kid so hard he ended up fumbling and we got the ball back.”
Along with Missouri Western, Johnson said he had other offers from Southern Illinois University, Western Illinois University, UCM, Northwest and Lincoln University.
As for the biggest influence on him playing football, Johnson said it would have to be his father because he knows the game very well and tells him these little things that makes a big difference in the game. “He knows me and knows when I am not playing to my potential so he is there to push me to do better. “