By Ray Hamill — The North Coast’s recent penchant for producing outstanding Division-I college linemen appears set to continue with Fortuna’s Cory Johnson.
The former Husky standout, who played a big part in the Huskies’ back-to-back North Coast Section championships in 2017-18, made the switch from D-line to O-line after joining Shasta College and it’s a move that appears to have paid dividends.
“He’s one of our best offensive linemen,” Shasta head coach Bryon Hamilton said of Johnson. “We expect him to be Division-I talent.”
Johnson too is excited about the switch and looking forward to the upcoming season after red-shirting with the Knights last fall.
He is expected to start at left tackle.
“Last year was a great learning experience,” he said. “I didn’t play a lot of offensive line in high school.”
The Shasta coaches saw something immediately with Johnson, making the move just two weeks into training camp.
And Johnson wasted little time adapting.
“I picked it up pretty quick,” he said. “It was definitely more of a mental adjustment than a physical one.”
The former Fortuna standout, who is majoring in Kinesiology, has also adapted quickly to college life and has enjoyed his first year at Shasta, although the recent lockdown has affected the team’s preparations for the fall.
“We were off to a really strong start,” Johnson said of the Knights’ spring program. “And now it’s definitely different. I’ve been working out by myself.”
Johnson hopes to return to campus this summer and says he is optimistic about the team’s prospects.
“I’m very excited with a lot of the tools we have,” he said. “We have a great defensive line and our running backs are very, very promising. I would say we have at least two or three D-I running backs.”
This year he will be joined by several local players at Shasta, with the Knights taking advantage of a talented pool of players in the H-DNL.
And Johnson believes that’s a good thing, not just for the Knights but also for local players.
“The more people that can move on from here, the better,” he said.
Johnson expects to move on from Shasta after this coming year, and intends on playing football at a four-year school.
For now, however, he’s just looking forward to the fall and has high expectations for his team.
“Nothing less than a bowl win honestly,” he said. “Last year we came up a little short (in the Golden State Bowl), but I think we definitely have the ability to get it done this year.”