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Real Talk Season 2 with QBV #6: Mekhai Johnson: RedShirt Junior Running Back for Marist College

Updated: Dec 19, 2020

This week on Real Talk, our team had the chance to talk to Marist Running back Mekhai Johnson!

In his junior season, Johnson started 4 games in 2019 before his season was cut short by an injury. During those games he started he averaged 4.7 yards per carry and one touchdown, he had a season-high 125 yards on 16 carries, with a long of 54 and a touchdown against Stetson.

Johnson has many honorable mentions during his college career and prior to arriving at Marist College. Johnson talks about his training regimen and his expectations for his last season at Marist College, along with his views on a prep year for young athletes.

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What have you been doing to stay in shape?

“So right now we are on a pause for all team activities and workouts and also there’s a pause on campus so that means the weight room is closed everything is closed.” So we have been going to the local gym, my housemates and I following the routine and stuff like that. But before that we were on the field a little bit, we got to helmets that were about it. We were going over plays, branded workouts, and simple stuff like that."

"That was the idea for right now, everything is online, and trying to get to the local gym as much as we can. I always tried to help the younger guys and bring them in, I don’t like to say showing them the ropes but putting guys on to certain stuff and let them do their thing after that. It’s just good to have someone older than you just to see how you are doing and how you are adjusting to the team.”

What are some ways you’ve been adjusting to these times?

“To me not much of an adjustment, it’s just what it is right now, you have to do what you have to do but everything is temporary that’s how I look at it. It’s just online classes and just working out, there’s not much to it right now."

"The biggest adjustment probably is the mask, and not being able to do what you want to do outside of class and working out, just missing going out to eat and simple stuff like that. I live with my grandmother back home so having a high-risk person at home so means I have to be extra careful with what I do now but it’s not that much of an adjustment for me”

Talk about the value of work ethic.

“For me, work ethic is everything in terms of on the football field and getting to where I wanted to be. You can have all the talent in the world and no work ethic and you can have no talent in the world and all the worth ethic. It wasn’t like I was the most athletic when I was younger or the most talented guy, I mean I was a great football player and a great athlete but I wasn’t the best out there and I knew that at a young age."

"I worked my ass off to get what I wanted. I can say that work ethic is a big deal to me and to a lot of guys I surround myself with, I just think that’s how it should be and in the game of football that’s what you need. Life as well, I applied my work ethic in football and that’s how I got to where I’m at now.”

How’s your experience been in college?

“It’s always been a goal to play D1 ball, and when I had the opportunity to play at Marist I came and played. I started playing as a freshman, then got hurt sophomore year, I fractured my sternum coming around the corner. I actually ran over the safety though so you know that kinda balanced it out. I came around the corner, it was just a freak accident and I fractured my sternum."

"I honestly was worried about it, people kept coming up to me and saying all this but I was just like yeah it happened and it is what it is. So that happened then Junior year came around and I was starting, it was the fourth game in, then I have the MCL injury. It was the same thing I came back and now I feel like I’m 100% now."

"Going through all that at the same time was difficult because Marist is not the easiest school in the world. I can say I had some rough times here and there with family or whatever. So I can say it was a little bit difficult but I can’t say it was the worst, I had a good time I’m enjoying myself, I’m playing ball and I’m healthy now so nothing to really complain about now.”

What do you want to accomplish next season?

“Oh man, EVERYTHING! You got to leave it all out there, it’s the last season, it’s my senior season. Last year with the kids I came in with since freshman year, the seniors that were here when I was a freshman. Have to ball out for everyone, ball out for me."

"I’m not really the type to set goals but I just go out there and play football just gotta do what I gotta do. I just want to have the best season I’ve had at Marist college, go out with a bang and set myself up for life after Marist and stuff like that in terms of football and everything.”

What are some things that have helped your development over the years?

“Probably have to start out at the Dorchester Eagles football team, anyone who knows the Dorchester eagles in the Massachusetts area even the northeast area knows what was going on over there. Especially 6 to 10 years ago, that laid the foundation. I was just hungry, came up through middle school hungry, didn’t get a chance to play in 9th or 10th grade. I got the opportunity to play a Belmont High,"

"I was hungry, didn’t start my Junior year. I think that running back went to UPenn, he was a good running back, Max Jones that was my boy. I came in my senior year, I was snapping, no offers, 27 touchdowns plus 2,000 yards. Nothing. I was a hungry man, went to prep school, balled out there,"

"The coaches over there got me right. Then I got the opportunity to