Maturing on the diamond is something necessary for a baseball player in order to continue playing the game, but maturing as a leader is a quality that transcends practices and games.
For Clinton’s Christian Johnson, his home for college baseball needed to focus on bettering his abilities—on and off the field—and on National Signing Day, that home was secured with a signature.
On Nov. 14, 2018, Christian Johnson signed a letter of intent to play baseball for the University of Alabama Birmingham.
“I love the way Coach (Brian) Shoop runs the program,” Johnson said. “Like most colleges, UAB has great facilities, but what I loved was how the coaches are interested in bettering the lives of the players. They can help me turn into a better man long after baseball is over.”
Johnson, a speedy center fielder with a strong presence at the plate, had Arrows’ highest batting average his junior year (.432), wracking up 35 hits, 18 RBIs and one homerun.
Clinton Arrow head coach Trave Hopkins said Johnson’s development is a product of hard work. “CJ tracks the ball well in the outfield,” Hopkins said, “and his arm has gotten a lot stronger as he’s gotten older.”
Hopkins said Johnson’s bat is valuable, but his speed is what makes him dangerous. “Defensively, he can track down balls hit to the gap that are generally extra base hits. Most of the time, for CJ, they’re outs.”
Johnson said he’s looking forward to the challenge of Division-1 college baseball. “The coaches at UAB have done a great job at developing their players,” Johnson added, “and I feel like UAB is the place that will help me progress and develop even more.”
Johnson is a member of National Honor Society and was voted as Mr. Junior Class in 2017. He was also a key member of the 2016 MHSAA 6A State Football Championship team where he played wide receiver for the Arrows.
Christian Johnson is the son of Stacy and Markita Johnson