Making a wealth of outstanding plays from his wide receiver position throughout his career, Brunswick School senior Cornelius Johnson did things on the football field that not many Bruins fans saw before.
Thursday, it was announced that Johnson accomplished another first.
Johnson was selected as 2018-19 Gatorade Connecticut Football Player of the Year. Chosen by The Gatorade Company, Johnson is the first Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year hailing from Brunswick.
The award recognizes outstanding athletic excellence and high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. He is now a finalist for the Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award to be announced later this month.
“It’s very exciting for our program and even more so, for him,” said Brunswick football coach Jarrett Shine, who had an opportunity to coach Johnson for four seasons. “It is a huge accomplishment and we are very proud of him.”
Brunswick responds with a few big plays by Cornelius Johnson (who is good at football), including this short TD catch from Weingardner. 2pt ru. Good, Bruins cut Choate’s lead to 18-8, 2:54 left 3rd #cthsfb pic.twitter.com/TbjcrWmYdB
— Sean Patrick Bowley (@SPBowley) November 17, 2018
The highly recruited, 6-foot-3, 198-pound wide receiver turned in a standout senior season for the Bruins. He registered 50 receptions for 826 yards and 12 touchdowns (both of which led the team) for the Bruins, who finished 8-2 and qualified for the NEPSAC Class A Mike Silipo Championship Bowl game.
Johnson, a co-captain this fall, earned All-Erickson Team honors for the third straight season and was named the league’s Co-Offensive Player of the Year. He also received All-New England Class A First Team accolades for the second consecutive year.
“This year, he really took on his leadership role,” Shine said. “He worked hard in practice, led by example and showed the younger players how to play the game the right way. He was a true leader to the team and was also more vocal than he had been in the past.”
Also returning a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown this past season, Johnson was also selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which takes place in January.
During his four-year Brunswick career, he recorded 129 receptions, 33 touchdowns and 2,167 receiving yards.
Johnson has volunteered locally as a board member with Jack and Jill of America, which focuses on developing leadership and community service among African American youth. “He is an outstanding player with good speed, fantastic body control and elite hands,” Salsibury School coach Chris Phelps said. “It’s safe to say that everyone’s game plan centered around controlling him.”
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track and field. It also awards one National Player of the Year in each sport.
Johnson recently told GameTimeCT.com that he narrowed his college choices down to Michigan, Penn State, Stanford, Alabama and Notre Dame.
“We’re sure going to miss him,” Shine said. “For a player like that to come through this program — it doesn’t happen very often. He was a player who we depended on all the time to keep drives alive and make big plays. We won’t see a kid like him for many years.”