COVINGTON, Ga. — Hard work and perseverance have certainly paid off for Alcovy’s Maurice Johnson as he signed a letter of intent to run track for Alabama A&M University on Wednesday.
Johnson will participate in the 400 and 800 meter runs and as a member of the 4x400 relay team for the Bulldogs next season. He said he signed with Alabama A&M after rejecting a scholarship offer from Alcorn State University in April.
“Alcorn is a great school but, I didn’t want my parents to pay for anything,” said Johnson. “Colleges cost a lot of money. When my sister went to college my mom had money in the bank. I don’t want to say we’re tight on money. I don’t want my mother to pay for anything. I would’ve had more scholarships if I had better test scores but Alabama (A&M) took that chance on me.”
While Johnson has a bright future in front of him now, there were times when it seemed to be in doubt. When he started high school he took his gifts for running on the track for granted and at times could be a troublemaker in class. Sometimes he’d let his temper get the best of him as well.
“I don’t take things as serious as I should,” Johnson said. “I knew I had to straighten up. My grades were slacking. People always told me I was going to be something, but, in ninth grade I knew I wasn’t going to do anything. Track really helped with that. I’d still get mad but, when I ran I was able to turn it off. Without running I don’t know where I would be. High school will either make you, or break you.”
Not only has track helped him get to college, it has also helped Johnson help himself. Johnson was also able to help those around him improve on and off the track as well.
“He brings that energy and desire,” said coach Ricardo Branch. “Everything you give him he always wants more. He brings energy and that work ethic with him. “I’ve seen tremendous growth of not just being an athlete, but being a man and a leader. He would bring the other track members to speed.”
Johnson credits Branch and the Alcovy track team for helping him focus and give provide direction to his life.
“I like the feeling of being part of Alcovy track,” Johnson said. “It’s not just one person, it’s a team. It feels great to help somebody on the team get better. It’s a good feeling all the way around. Team and family means everything. Without it you have nothing.”
Johnson already has a few goals he wants to achieve as a member of the Alabama A&M track and field team, and Branch believes those aspirations are more than attainable.
“I think with the right coaching, I think Maurice will be one of the best runners they have,” Branch said.
Aside from getting bigger, stronger and faster, he wants to be able to comeback to Alcovy and Covington and create a platform for himself that has a broad reach.
“I got goals,” Johnson said. “I want to be on tv.”