There is a particular fixture outside of Jacobe Johnson’s home that will forever be engrained in his and his family’s memory.
The Johnson’s mailbox is like most – red brick, a few feet tall, flat top. It sits right at the curb with the house number scripted under a black door with a red flag. Not much to it.
That’s where it all started though.
Before Johnson became a star and supreme teammate for the Mustang Broncos. Before committing to the University of Oklahoma. Before he even knew it would be football – not basketball.
A pair of vertical jump training bands and a mailbox. And social media of course.
In 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnson and his dad Malcolm, a former standout for Billy Tubbs’ Texas Christian University basketball teams in the 90s, filmed a short video for Twitter and other social media.
Johnson strapped on a pair of vertical jump resistance bands and showed off the athleticism that eventually made him a four-star recruit and a future Sooner. 10 squat jumps – clearing the mailbox each time with a clean landing on top.
“There was already a buzz going on for him, but that’s when everything really started to roll,” said Marcia Johnson, Jacobe’s mom and the one who posted the video to Twitter. “Coach (Tim) Duffie at OSU saw it and then he got his first offer.”
— JacobeJohnson (@JacobeJohnson24) April 16, 2020
It came as a bit of surprise to Johnson, who thought, like his dad, basketball would be his future.
“That’s when football came into the picture,” he said. “Before I got that first offer it was basketball and then football. It’s crazy, but now I can’t wait to play college. And I want to make it to the NFL.”
From there, Johnson’s game exploded. He became a fixture for the Broncos at cornerback during his freshman season and has since become a playmaker on both sides of the ball.
Interest from across the country started to build, highlighted by offers from Oklahoma, Alabama, Michigan, and Stanford.
Johnson and his family spent every weekend last July going on visits before the 6-foot-3, 185-pound athlete made his decision, choosing the Sooners at Mustang’s ‘Bring Out the Broncos’ event in September.
Jacobe Johnson and his family walk out of the Mustang Bronco football tunnel during program’s ‘Bring Out the Broncos’ ceremony in September. Johnson committed to the University of Oklahoma during the event. (Photo by Ron Lane / Lane Images)
The star receiver and defensive back says one of the “coolest” parts of the recruitment process – and his senior season – has been having brothers Jaden and Jaytee along for the ride. The twins are freshmen for the Broncos and could be on the same path as their older sibling.
“Not a lot of people can say they’re able to play with their younger brothers,” Johnson said. “It’s a blessing to be able to practice with them and be on the same field. And it was cool to have them there on the recruiting trips.
“We were able to meet NFL players left and right. I would have never thought it was like that. I think Jaden and Jaytee might’ve enjoyed it more than I did, too.”
Johnson was also somewhat caught off guard being in the spotlight. He is described by coaches, teammates, and family as a “genuinely loving, quiet, and down to earth.” The future Sooner says he simply just loves being around friends, family, and sports.
Like most kids in Oklahoma, Johnson played baseball, football, and basketball in little league. He grew up in Rush Springs – a small town between Lawton and Oklahoma City – before moving to Mustang prior to his freshman year. He said having a close relationship with his family has made a major impact on his life.
“We’re really close and I feel like mom and dad have really raised some good men,” Johnson said. “They’ve always been honest and supportive in everything we do. They’ve showed us a lot in life through sports. Both were ballers. Mom got her business degree, but she was a bucket. And dad played at TCU and some pro ball.
“I couldn’t ask for a better family and parents.”
Jacobe Johnson (Sr.) receives a pass during a blowout win over the Southmoore Sabercats earlier this season. Johnson led the Mustang Broncos with 893 receiving yards and 13 touchdown receptions in 2022. (Photo by Ron Lane / Lane Images)
Another point of emphasis for the Johnson family has always been schoolwork.
Johnson says his family has a rule that if you don’t make the grades, you don’t play. He takes that serious and even felt the urge to shout out one of his favorite teachers for helping him along the way.
“My favorite subject is AP Biology because of Mr. (Jesse) Longley,” Johnson said. “He is always willing to work with me and recently gave me a recommendation for the Gatorade Player of the Year award. He’s a really great teacher.
“I’ve always thought that it’s very important to keep my grades up and to stay on top of schoolwork. My parents have always made sure to make education a priority.”
Johnson has put up a monster senior season for the Broncos, accounting for nearly 1,200 total yards with 19 touchdowns. He led the team with 893 receiving yards in the regular season, including 13 touchdown receptions, and totaled over 200 return yards.
The senior defensive back also finished with 39 total tackles, one forced fumble, one interception, and four pass deflections. Not much action was seen on his side of the field.
Johnson has repeatedly praised his teammates and coaches throughout the season. He feels his teammates and coaching staff have built a strong foundation based on family and relationships.
He also saw the Broncos as one of the favorites for the Class 6A-I state championship in the preseason. Not much has changed.
“I’ve learned a lot from our coaching staff,” Johnson said. “Coach Gaines has made a huge impact on me. He brought me up as a freshman to play corner when I had never even played the position. Coach Dollar has also taught me a lot and of course coach Blankenship.
“They do a great job of preparing us for games and getting us locked in. They bring a ton of energy, which we’re going to need this week.”
Johnson and the Broncos host the Jenks Trojans in the Class 6A-I quarterfinals tonight at Bronco Stadium. The playoffs have created a dynamic atmosphere around campus according to Johnson.
“It’s time,” he said. “They got us last year, but we had a lot of injuries. Our message over the last two weeks has been ‘we want Jenks.’ The energy has been great. Everyone is hyped.”
Whether it’s football or basketball – or even one of his other favorite activities like spike ball or PlayStation sessions of Modern Warfare and NBA 2K – Johnson is ready to go.
He just wants to have fun and play – just like his favorite NFL cornerback Ahmed “Sauce” Gardner of the New York Jets.
“I love watching him. He plays football and has a good time doing it. That’s just like me. That’s all I want to do.”