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Another Big Hitter From Erie

Another Big Hitter From Erie

9/2/2002 by Jon Miller of Hawkeye Nation


Jovon Johnson had a reputation as a big play man before arriving on the Iowa campus.

He was Mr. Everything for his high school team in Erie (Mercyhurst Prep), PA. He was the conference offensive player of the year his junior year from his quarterback position and was the player of the year on defense his senior year.

He returned 12 punts for touchdowns during his prep career and intercepted 10 passes, three of which were returned for touchdowns.

In the first ever game of his collegiate career on Saturday, the true freshman intercepted a pass and returned it 38 yards.

”I got a chance to get on the field as a freshman and that is a great honor in the Big Ten,” said the 18-year old Johnson. “My teammates encouraged me to do well and when I got on the field and I made a big play.”

Defensive backs dance a duet on the blade of a knife that leaves little margin for error. Johnson made a big play all right, but if the ball had not been under thrown by 10 yards, Iowa fans would have gotten a chance to witness Johnson’s closing speed.

”I might have been able to run him down, but he had me beat.” Johnson said with a smile. “It was a mistake on my part, but I will come back next time and correct those mistakes.”

Johnson was able to make another impression on the day and that was from the hits that he was laying on the Akron opponents.

Johnson is generously listed as 5-feet-9, 165-pounds in the Iowa media guide, but he was laying the wood like another Erie, PA defensive back, Bob Sanders.

”I think that if you live in Erie, you are a big hitter. I came through a couple of times and made some big hits and it felt like playing in high school again.” Johnson said.

Ed Hinkel, the last member of the Erie triumvirate, also made a few bone crunching hits on special teams.

Just what is it with these Erie players?

”I don’t know what it is in the water there,” Johnson said. “But we like to throw our bodies around and make a couple of big hits.

”Everyone on this team who is from Erie does just that.”

Hawkeye NationHawkeye Nation was founded by Jon Miller, and later acquired by Rivals and Sports Illustrated. You can visit them at

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Another Big Hitter From Erie - Summary of Iowa football and basketball games