MARTIN, Tenn. – Ben Johnson, a rising senior on The University of Tennessee at Martin football team, has been named to the 2013 College Football Performance Awards preseason linebacker watch list.
A native of Primm Springs, Tenn., Johnson is one of just two Ohio Valley Conference players on the CFPA list, alongside Eastern Kentucky’s Anthony Brown. All in all, 35 Football Championship Subdivision linebackers will compete for the top positional award handed out by the CFPA, the largest awards organization in Division-I college football.
Johnson was the anchor of the Skyhawk defensive attack in 2012, leading the OVC with 131 tackles (60 solo) on his way to All-OVC first team defense accolades. His 11.91 tackles per game ranked sixth in the nation amongst FCS players while his 131 stops ranked as the seventh-best single-season total in UT Martin history. He also ranked fourth in the OVC with four sacks while adding five tackles-for-loss, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, one quarterback hurry and one pass breakup.
Last season, Johnson piled up at least eight tackles in all 11 games – including eight games of double-digit tackles. The 6-2, 235-pounder set a career-high with 17 tackles against Jacksonville State on Nov. 3 – the third-highest single-game total in the OVC in 2012. He also accounted for 16 tackles against Eastern Illinois on Oct. 6 and remarkably made 10 solo stops (13 overall) at FBS foe Northern Illinois on Sept. 8.
In addition, Johnson was named the CFPA’s OVC Player of the Week after tallying 12 tackles and season-highs of two tackles-for-loss and 1.5 sacks against Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 13.
Johnson has started in all 22 games at linebacker each of the past two seasons and has accumulated 228 tackles (106 solo) over that span. He has also registered 12.5 tackles-for-loss, 7.5 sacks (six solo), five passes defended, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions. He ranks just 17 tackles shy of cracking UT Martin’s all-time career top-10 list in that category.
All CFPA recipients are selected exclusively based upon objective scientific rankings of the extent to which individual players increase the overall effectiveness of their teams. All players are eligible for awards at their respective positions and players are not preemptively eliminated from consideration. The 2013 CFPA FCS awards will be announced on Jan. 8, 2014.