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Smith Column: It's easy to find name Johnson in MSU sports

April 16, 2011

By DANNY P. SMITH
Sports Editor
sdnsports@bellsouth.net

The news coming out of Mississippi State athletics this year is starting to sound like a brand of shampoo.
A couple of items for the Bulldogs last week dealt with a Johnson and Johnson.
More and more it seems, MSU is recruiting and using more student-athletes with that last name.
Basketball public address announcer Jonathan Holmes had plenty of practice saying Johnson last season at Humphrey Coliseum with Ravern Johnson completing his career with the Bulldogs and Diamber Johnson playing for the Lady Bulldogs.
Holmes can get ready to say it a little bit longer.
On Wednesday, it was learned that MSU signed power forward Roquez Johnson in hoops last week.
The Starkville Daily News learned that the Montgomery, Ala., native committed to the Bulldogs about a month ago and he went ahead to make his intentions official by putting his name on the dotted line.
Johnson is used to winning after leading G.W. Carver High School to a 33-2 record and a berth in the Class 6A semifinals as a senior. The Wolverines advanced to the Class 5A semifinals as a junior.
Carver coach James Jackson said "the fans at Mississippi State are in for a big surprise" about the ability of Johnson.
Johnson has shown the ability to score, rebound and get teammates involved. He averaged 16 points, 13.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists as a senior.
After coming off a disappointing season where they missed the postseason for the first time since the 2005-06 season, it seems the Bulldogs have made strides for the future with Johnson, Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year Rodney Hood of Meridian, Parade All-American D.J. Gardner of Okolona and All-State member Deville Smith of Jackson as a part of the recruiting class, which ranks No. 20 by ESPN and No. 24 by Scout.com.
Also, this week a former Johnson from MSU baseball team got the call to the Major Leagues and is expected to get a start on the mound for the Colorado Rockies today.
Alan Johnson, who pitched with the Bulldogs from 2003-05, had his minor league contract purchased by the Rockies on Thursday. He becomes the 47th baseball player with MSU ties to advance to the highest level of baseball.
There are some players like Will Clark, Rafael Palmeiro and Paul Maholm that had pro potential written all over them when they were in the Bulldogs. Johnson didn't seem to have that look in college.
In his three seasons with MSU, Johnson was never who one would consider a dominant hurler.
His career record of 13-15 and 4.82 earned run average aren't overly impressive. He was honored Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Week three times in 2003 after working complete-game shutouts against Ole Miss and LSU.
Johnson has worked his way through the minor league system, paid his dues and now gets his chance with one of the best teams in Major League Baseball right now.
It will be interesting to see how Johnson performs when he takes the mound against the Chicago Cubs.

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

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