|Position:||Wide receiver / return specialist|
|Date of birth:||November 22, 1989|
|Place of birth:||Norco, Louisiana|
|Height:||5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)|
|Weight:||175 lb (79 kg)|
|High school:||Destrehan (LA) Destrehan High School|
|Roster status:||Free Agent|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of 2015|
Damaris Keith Johnson (born November 22, 1989) is an American football wide receiver and return specialist for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League (CFL). After playing college football for the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, he was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent in 2012.
Johnson was born in Norco, Louisiana where he was raised by his single mother Lori Johnson. According to Johnson, his first cousin Mark Young acted as a surrogate father and taught him how to play football. He attended Destrehan High School in Destrehan, Louisiana where he became a three-year letter winner in football. He eventually became the all-time leading receiver at Destrehan High School with a career record of 154 receptions, 2,620 yards, and 30 touchdowns. In his senior year alone, he made 81 receptions for 1,228 yards, and 12 touchdowns. That year, Destrehan High School achieved a 14–0 record and won the state championship. Johnson was named the Louisiana Championship game Most Valuable Player (MVP) and the New Orleans Metro MVP, and was twice named an all-state and all-New Orleans Metro player.
Johnson was highly ranked as a college prospect by several websites, but was not shown much interest by the major football schools due in part to his small stature. His high school coach Stephen Robicheaux said, "If he were two inches taller, he could have gone anywhere in the country." Rivals.com assigned him a four-star rating and named him the 11th-ranked college prospect in Louisiana and the 28th-ranked athlete in the nation. Scout.com assessed him as the 21st-ranked college prospect in the state. Johnson selected Tulsa over Texas Christian, Memphis, and Louisiana Tech.
Against UTEP, Johnson set a Tulsa school record for single-game kickoff return yards with 211 yards on six returns. In the first quarter, Johnson returned a kick 98 yards for a touchdown to equalize the game at 28 and shift the momentum in favor of Tulsa. By the game's end, Johnson had accumulated 296 all-purpose yards and was named a Conference USA Player of the Week. Against New Mexico, Johnson caught five passes for 109 yards and three touchdowns. Tulsa head coach Todd Graham said that true freshman "Damaris Johnson is as explosive of a freshman or any player I've seen, freshman or senior." He led his team and the conference in all-purpose yardage with 2,201 yards and set a Tulsa school record for single-season kickoff return yards with 1,319.
In 2008, Johnson was named to the All-Conference USA second-team as a kick returner and All-Conference USA honorable mention as a wide receiver. The Sporting News named him a first-team freshman All-American, Rivals.com named him a first-team freshman All-American as an all-purpose player and Phil Steele's College Football magazine named him a second-team freshman All-American kick returner. On December 24, 2010, in the Hawaii Bowl game, Johnson broke the NCAA record for all purpose yardage with 326 in a 62-35 win for Tulsa. He is also the NCAA leader in kick return yards for a career and total yards gained for a career.
Johnson was suspended indefinitely on August 25, 2011, following questions about his role in his girlfriend's arrest for felony embezzlement. Johnson's girlfriend, Chamon Jones, was accused of ringing up $2610 worth of merchandise over the course of two purchases at the Tulsa Macy's she worked at, but only charging Johnson just over $13 in total. Johnson was initially questioned and released, but on August 31 Johnson was also charged with felony embezzlement by the Tulsa County District Attorney's office. In October 2011, Johnson pleaded guilty to the charge and received a deferred sentence.
Johnson was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent on April 29, 2012. It was announced on August 31, 2012 that Johnson made the roster. On Friday, September 21, it was announced that Johnson would start along with DeSean Jackson against the Cardinals, replacing injured Jeremy Maclin. Johnson performed respectably, catching 5 passes for 84 yards, but he returned to the bench when Maclin returned. On Sunday December 2, 2012, during Sunday night football, he returned a 98-yard punt for a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys, which is tied for the third longest punt return in NFL history. He was released by the Eagles on August 30, 2014 and picked up by the Houston Texans.
On September 21, 2014, Johnson caught a 44 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick for his first career touchdown. Johnson played in all 16 games for the Texans in 2014. The Texans waived him at the end of preseason in September 2015.
New England Patriots
Johnson was signed by the New England Patriots on December 1, 2015. He played one game against his former team, the Eagles, where he had 1 run for 6 yards. He was later released by the team on December 16, 2015.
British Columbia Lions
Johnson and his wife, Chamon Jones Johnson, have two sons Skylar (born 2011) and Cameron (born January 2016). The family resides in New Orleans, Louisiana right outside of his hometown Norco, Louisiana.
- Up close: Damaris Johnson, Tulsa World, 23 September 2008, retrieved 11 January 2009.
- Official Athletic Site of the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, retrieved 11 January 2009.
- Damaris Johnson: Could be recruiting steal, HS Game Time, 28 December 2007, retrieved 11 January 2009.
- Tulsa's Duo of Brennan Marion and Damaris Johnson Earn C-USA Player of the Week Honors, 20 October 2008, retrieved 11 January 2009.
- Tulsa's Damaris Johnson Adds Two More Freshman All-America Honors, Official Athletic Site of the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, 17 December 2008, retrieved 11 January 2009.
- Six Tulsa Players Earn All-Conference USA Honors, Three Newcomers Named to All-Freshman Team, Official Athletic Site of the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, 9 December 2008, retrieved 11 January 2009.
- TU's Damaris Johnson suspended after girlfriend's arrest on embezzlement complaint, Tulsa World, 26 August 2011, retrieved 1 September 2011.
- TU's Johnson Charged with embezzlement, Tulsa World, 1 September 2011, retrieved 1 September 2011.
- "Deferred sentence for Damaris Johnson", Associated Press at ESPN.com, October 13, 2012.
- "Houston Texans claim OT Adams, CB Morris, & WR Johnson". houseofhouston.com. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
- Aaron Wilson, "Former Texans wide receiver Damaris Johnson working out for Titans", Houston Chronicle, September 6, 2015.
- "Patriots place RB LeGarrette Blount on Injured Reserve; Release WR Damaris Johnson", "Patriots.com", December 16, 2015
- Morris, Jimmy, "Titans claim former Patriots WR Damaris Johnson off waivers", "Music City Miracles", December 17, 2015
- "Titans Agree to Terms with 11 Undrafted Free Agents". Titans Online. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
- Mike Beamish, "NFL vet, Golden Hurricane legend Damaris Johnson joins Lions", Vancouver Province, July 24,2016.