5 Matt Johnson
5 Matt Johnson
Height: 6-2
Weight: 220
Year: Jr.
Hometown: Tumwater, Wash.
High School: Tumwater HS '07
Position: DB
Experience: 2L*

Career: Johnson already has 10 career interceptions -- six in 2009 and four as a freshman -- to rank eighth in school history (the school record is 18). His 185 career tackles are just 21 from earning a position on EWU’s top 25 career leaders list (the school record is 399). He has started 23 career games -- the most by any returning Eastern player.

2010: Named as a preseason second team All-Big Sky selection by the Phil Steele College Football Preview Magazine. Listed as a starter at strong safety on EWU’s preseason depth chart. Did not participate in spring practices because of a shoulder injury.

2009: Earned honorable mention All-Big Sky Conference honors. He finished with 102 tackles to rank as the 17th-most in school history, and his average of 8.2 per game was 74th in FCS. He also led the Big Sky and ranked 13th in FCS in interceptions (0.50 per game, six total). He intercepted four passes against Portland State (10/31/09), tying the Big Sky Conference record shared by two other players. As a result, he was selected as the Sports Network National Defensive Player of the Week, a College Sporting News National All-Star and was the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week after leading Eastern to a commanding 33-4 halftime lead. The four picks were the most interceptions in a game by a Big Sky player in 20 years and the most by an Eagle in 23. But Johnson’s performance wasn’t a school record as he came one pick short of EWU’s school record of five set in 1986 by Mark Cordes against Boise State -- a year before Eastern became a league member. Johnson helped Eastern’s defense hold PSU without a touchdown as Eastern had a 545-278 advantage in total offense. A year earlier in a 47-36 Portland State win, the Vikings passed for 623 yards and five touchdowns. Johnson also had a productive day one game earlier against Montana State (10/24/09), although EWU surrendered 592 yards of total offense in the 35-24 victory. He had 14 tackles (10 unassisted), including a sack, an interception and a fumble recovery he returned 14 yards. He had 15 tackles in Eastern’s playoff-clinching win over Northern Arizona (11/21/09). He was selected as the team’s defensive player of the week against both Portland State and Sacramento State (9/26/09) when he had four tackles and an interception he returned 33 yards for a touchdown. He wore EWU’s No. 10 jersey in 2009 in honor of his twin brother Zach Johnson, who was lost for the season because of a blood clot that developed before the start of preseason practices in August.

2008: Earned honorable mention All-Big Sky Conference honors. Started all 11 games at strong safety. He and his twin brother Zach combined for 179 tackles to rank 1-2 on the team, with Matt closing the year with 83 tackles and a team-leading four interceptions, and Zach finishing with 96 and a team-high seven passes broken up. Matt had 83 total tackles to rank eighth in the Big Sky (7.6 per game), and had four interceptions to rank 47th in FCS and sixth in the league (0.36 per game). He had a team-high 10 tackles and an interception he returned 37 yards in his collegiate debut against Texas Tech (8/30/08) to earn team defensive player of the week honors. The interception of Graham Harrell set-up EWU’s first touchdown of the day in the 49-24 loss to the 12th-ranked Red Raiders. In the same game, Zach finished with eight tackles and three passes broken up. Matt had a season-high 12 tackles late in the year against Northern Colorado (11/8/08) in a game in which his brother had 15 tackles and an interception. During spring practices, he suffered a concussion in a collision with Aaron Boyce in EWU’s scrimmage on April 19, and had to miss the Red-White Spring Game the next week. But Boyce came out worse, suffering a shoulder injury on the play that required surgery to repair his partially torn labrum.

2007: Redshirted. Along with his brother Zach, he was selected as EWU’s Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year. He was defensive scout team player of the week twice.

HS: Graduated from Tumwater HS in 2007. Selected to play in the 2A/1A/2B/1B All-State Game. Named by the Seattle Times as a “White Chip” selection as one of the top 100 prospects in the state of Washington. Earned second team 2A All-Evergreen League honors at defensive back, despite missing five games due to injury. He still managed to rack up 53 tackles, a pair of interceptions and a fumble recovery despite his limited playing time. He shared team captain and most inspirational awards with his brother Zach following their senior season. After a season-opening loss, Tumwater won 11-straight games to advance to the semifinals of the State 2A Playoffs and finish the season 11-2. Tumwater defeated Colville and EWU recruit John Roberts 28-25 in the quarterfinals, then lost to eventual champion Lynden 20-10 in the semifinals. Was listed among the “Seniors to Watch” on Ron Siegel’s 2006 preseason All-State team. As a junior, he earned All-Pac 9 League honors as a safety when he finished with 54 tackles, three interceptions and two forced fumbles. As a sophomore, he earned second team all-league honors as a running back. He also played basketball and baseball. As a senior in baseball, he helped lead his team to a district title as he and his brother Zach both had two-run home runs in an 11-10 victory over Centralia in the championship game. Both were first team All-Evergreen Conference selections as outfielders as Tumwater finished 16-6 after advancing to the first round of the State 2A Tournament.

Personal: Born 7/22/89 in Olympia, Wash. Matt is the twin of his EWU teammate Zach Johnson. Mathematics education major.


Year   GP     TT     Hi     S      TL-Yds FF-FR  PBU    I-Yds
2008   11     83     12     0      5-6    0-0    1      4-79
2009   12     102    15     1      7-14   3-1    4      6-58
Totals 23     185    15     1      12-20  3-1    5      10-137


Top Tackling Performances
16 - Weber State - 10/10/09
15 - Northern Arizona - 11/21/09
14 - Montana State - 10/24/09
14 - Montana - 10/17/09
12 - Northern Colorado - 11/8/09
10 - Stephen F. Austin - 11/28/09
10 - Texas Tech - 8/30/08


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