MARTIN, Tenn. – One year after racking up an Ohio Valley Conference-high 131 tackles, The University of Tennessee at Martin linebacker Ben Johnson has been recognized as a Preseason All-American by Lindy’s Sports and by the Sports Network.
This marks the third Preseason All-American list for Johnson, who was also coronated with that distinction by Beyond Sports Network. The 6-2, 235-pounder has also been recognized as one of 35 Football Championship Subdivision linebackers to appear on the College Football Performance Awards preseason watch list.
A redshirt senior out of Primm Springs, Tenn., Johnson was named a second team Preseason All-American and the best defensive player in the OVC by Lindy’s Sports. He was also ranked as a third team Preseason All-American by the Sports Network, sharing the top OVC linebacker honor with Eastern Kentucky’s Anthony Brown.
An All-OVC first teamer in 2012, Johnson enters this fall just 17 tackles away from the all-time UT Martin career top-10 list in that category. His 11.91 tackles per game last season was the sixth-best total in the nation while he added four sacks, five tackles-for-loss, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, one quarterback hurry and one pass breakup.
Johnson piled up a career-high 17 tackles against Jacksonville State on Nov. 3 last season and also registered 16 tackles against Eastern Illinois on Oct. 6. All in all, he made at least eight tackles in all 11 games, eight of which were double-digit performances.
The backbone of the Skyhawk defense, Johnson has earned a start in all 22 games in the last two seasons, amassing 228 tackles (106 solo) in that stretch.