Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports
To fans of student athletes pursuing their dreams – even it if interferes with their athletic pursuits – Kevin Haskin of the Topeka Capital Journal published a great article yesterday on QB Sam Johnson. Johnson – a former Topeka High quarterback – originally walked on to K-State and provided a great story in January when offered a scholarship after the Fiesta Bowl. His story took another turn this spring when he decided to turn down the scholarship to focus on his dental school resume.
Johnson was unlikely to find himself under center this year – at least not under the bright lights of Bill Synder Family Stadium on Saturdays. The ongoing quarterback battle to replace Collin Klein has centered around Jake Waters and Daniel Sams. However, the redshirt junior has been with the team since 2010. An intelligent player, he is well versed with the playbook and was essentially an assistant coach on the sidelines, helping to compile and synthesize information on defensive formations and the offense’s performance. He saw playing time late in the game against Miami last year.
Sam’s father, Frank Johnson, is also a dentist and has helped his son examine his career path. Part of the expectations of dental students when they become upperclassmen is to shadow practicing dentists for up to 300 hours. And to secure acceptance to UMKC – where Johnson hopes to receive his degree – he’ll have to demonstrate a strong academic record and score well on the Dental Admission Test (DAT). The DAT is an experience not to be trifled with, and throws test takers into a five hour abyss of questions regarding organic chemistry, spatial reasoning, and applied mathematics (The Jug’s ability to use a simple calculator would likely fall short of UMKC’s DAT score requirements).
This page would like to personally congratulate Sam Johnson, who worked his keister off multiple years to earn a scholarship spot on the Wildcat football team. Even more importantly, once he earned his chance he recognized the best path for himself and chose to focus on his career. College athletics are important to a lot of people – they help teach teamwork, work ethic, and provide mentors to help students make the right decisions. Yet the dream can’t last forever for most players, and it sounds like Johnson is ready to take on the next stage of his life. Thank you for your dedication to the team, Sam, and best of luck wherever life takes you.