By Cary Shuman
Lynn Tech coach James Runner III says that Jamar Johnson has “tremendous upside” in his football career and his 6-foot-2-inch, 175-pound quarterback will have the opportunity to showcase that potential at the next level.
Johnson has signed a letter of intent to attend American International College where he will study Communications and be a strong candidate for the quarterback position.
He was introduced to football at a young age by his father, Joseph Johnson, a former Virginia high school, who was his son’s coach through his years of development in youth football.
Jamar played Pop Warner football for the West Lynn Rams and continued with the Lynn Chargers organization. He is very grateful to his father his instruction, guidance, and support.
“I was always around my father on the football field,” recalled Jamar. “He coached Pop Warner in Haverhill and I used to go to practice with him and draw up plays with him. He’s an amazing coach and I’m thankful for all he’s taught me on and off the field, for inspiring me, and for instilling in me a passion for football.”
Jamar received 2016 Honorable Mention recognition from the Commonwealth Athletic Conference and the Daily Item. He caught the attention of college scouts at the Texas versus the World game that aired on ESPN3 and with the assistance of coach Runner, Jamar directed his attention to AIC, a Division 3 program.
Joseph Johnson said his 18-year-old son, Jamar, also excelled at a football camp at UMass/Lowell, earning camp MVP honors.
“I’ve been coaching football 25 years myself and he’s been around for a lot of those years,” said Mr. Johnson. “When Jamar was young, I used to use some of his plays that he would draw up. He’s very smart about the game. I’m just so proud about him.”
Mr. Johnson said that he and Jamar also credit God for the successful path that Jamar is making in his football and academic career.
Jamar, whose favorite NFL quarterback is Cam Newton, is excited about the AIC football program.
“I really enjoyed my visits to AIC. I really liked the campus and the facilities.”
Runner, who played football at Dean College, said that Jamar is a shining example for other Tech players in the program.
“Jamar has the heart of a lion – or a Tech Tiger,” said Runner. “He’s very self driven. It wasn’t just about coaches pushing Jamar. He was very instrumental in making sure he got into college. Attending football showcases in camps in Texas and Tennessee really helped him earn this opportunity to play college football. That exposure put him on the map. For Jamar to do this and make his family proud, that makes me very happy.”
Runner pledged that he will arrange a trip to Springfield for his returning Tech players so they can watch Jamar play for AIC.
“Jamar is showing everyone that we have a football program at our school, not just a football team,” said Runner. “That’s the message I hope everyone sees. He’s going to AIC and I think he’ll be very successful there.”
In addition to thanking his father, Jamar also lauded the coaching he has received from Runner. “I respect him as a coach, a mentor, and a friend,” said Jamar. “I’m looking forward to being an [AIC] Yellow Jacket.”