David Johnson has risen from Clinton High School star to NFL Pro Bowler.
The second-year Arizona Cardinals running back was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time Tuesday along with teammates Larry Fitzgerald and Patrick Peterson.
Johnson, a third-round pick in the 2015 draft out of Northern Iowa, made NFL history on Sunday with his 108 yards from scrimmage. He became the first player to record 100-plus scrimmage yards in 14 straight games to start a season.
"It means a lot. No one else has ever had it, so this is probably my favorite thing that I've accomplished that has to do with football," Johnson said.
Johnson also tied Hall of Famer Marcus Allen (1985) for the second-longest streak with at least 100 scrimmage yards at any point in a single season. Only Hall of Famer Barry Sanders (15 in 1997) has a longer single-season streak in NFL history.
In a season that has gone astray from what the Cardinals (5-8-1) and their fans expected, Johnson has produced all season long.
His 73 catches and 800 receiving yards lead all running backs, and he's in the top five in rushing yards with 1,138 on 260 carries.
He's also in the top five with 13 rushing touchdowns, and no NFL player has more total touchdowns over the past two seasons. Johnson scored twice against the Saints and has 30 in 30 games.
The Cardinals will have a losing season for the first time in four seasons under coach Bruce Arians, but Johnson is the star of the offense.
"You have to acknowledge anyone that does something for the first time in the history of the NFL. That's very unique," Arians said. "Very happy for David, very proud of him."
Johnson has the support of his veteran teammates, who feel he deserves to be the MVP.
"As impressive as a stat as that is," quarterback Carson Palmer said. "You kind of expect it. He's a great player. Why not go for 16?
"I think he's, if not the best, one of the best players in this game," Palmer said. "Typically that award goes to the ... player that has the better record, but there's no doubt that he's one of a kind."
Star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald agreed with Palmer, which meant a lot to Johnson.
"I had to come a long way, seriously," Johnson said. "I was third-rounder, maybe not even supposed to get drafted. A lot of stuff has happened and it means a lot to hear it from those guys."
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Arians used Johnson at wide receiver several times on Sunday in an effort to get as many of his most dynamic offensive players on the field at the same time.
With Michael Floyd having been released earlier in the week, the Cardinals were short-handed in experience at the position.
Johnson said he had not lined up at receiver so often since early in his college days at Northern Iowa. He even drew double coverage.
"We scripted it up all week to have me play receiver a little bit," Johnson said. "I enjoy doing that. Anyway I have a chance to have the ball in my hands."
Johnson is still 200 yards away from 1,000 receiving yards on the season, but is hopeful to get to that mark and finish with 1,000 yards in rushing and receiving. The only two players to have accomplished the feat are Davenport's Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk.
"I definitely have that on my radar," Johnson said. "Anything can happen. I could break out with 130 yards or 100 yards in one game. The sky's the limit."
Johnson is an expectant father and celebrated his 25th birthday on Dec. 16. He's been too busy to stop and reflect on his season.
"When I told Larry how old I was, he joked with me. I'm 25, second year, so he was probably like 20 in his second year," Johnson said. "He gave me a hard time and I just told him I had to get as much as I can in early, because with me being second year at 25, I have to do as much as I can."