Arizona Cardinals’ David Johnson showing how it’s done

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 27: Running back David Johnson
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 27: Running back David Johnson /

RaisingZona caught up with the Arizona Cardinals’ star running back during Hyundai’s Youth Football Camp Program on Thursday

The Arizona Cardinals’ David Johnson has gone from a third-round draft pick to arguably the best running back in football in just two years. He’s now passing on what he has learned to the youth of America.

On Thursday, July 6th, Johnson was the teacher at the front of the class, the star attraction at Hyundai’s Youth Football Camp Program. The event took place at the Arizona Sports Complex in Glendale, and an estimated 400 children (ages 7 to 13) participated.

In honor of the camp, Hyundai’s non-profit organization, Hyundai Hope on Wheels, will donate $15 million to children’s hospitals nationwide.

Speaking to Johnson about the camp, you could tell that he genuinely wanted to be there, that he wasn’t just going through the motions. He revealed that he himself, while growing up in Iowa, had attended camps such as this. Now, years later, it was his turn to be the instructor and he was enjoying every moment of it.

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Our conversation via telephone during a break in the camp touched on a variety of other topics as well.

Johnson proclaimed that the Philadelphia Eagles’ game in 2015, his rookie campaign, was his finest moment thus far in the NFL. “It was a crazy game, one of my first games starting”, was his description of the contest. He was a beast that night in Philly, rushing for 187 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, plus 42 yards receiving to boot.

As he was a mentor to the children during the camp, he too was mentored as a pro. He revealed that fellow Northern Iowa alum Kurt Warner taught him “alot of stuff”, and that the Arizona legend is a “great guy”. Johnson will also miss former Cards’ running backs’ coach Stump Mitchell, who taught him the intricacies of playing the position in the NFL.

On the subject of trash-talking, Johnson mentioned two guys in the league that are quite good at it. Not surprisingly, the Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman was singled out by him as one of the best talkers. He also revealed that the Carolina Panthers’ Luke Kuechly is vocal during games and described the linebacker as a “good, hard player”.

Johnson didn’t have to deal with the rookie hazing that some first-year pros do. He said the Cardinals don’t participate in the traditional ritual because they’re a “respectable ” team. The squad’s main focus was just “getting ready for the season”, not terrorizing rookies.

When the subject of fantasy football was brought up, Johnson chuckled. He claimed that he does play but “doesn’t know much about it “. When asked if he would or has drafted himself, he replied “of course”!

After speaking with Johnson, it’s easy to see why he was chosen to run the camp. Besides having a magnificent skill-set, the 2016 Pro Bowler is a gentleman through and through. An individual that the kids at the camp were fortunate to learn from, and one that the Cardinals are lucky to have representing their organization.