Johnson, BJ

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Cards: UT Upper Deck Icons 2011, UT Upper Deck All Time Alumni 2011, UT Upper Deck 2011
Acquired: Spoodog Box Break 2015, IP 2015, MVP Bottle Signing Spec’s Liquor

utud11 bjjohnson ATAConsidered one of the University of Texas’ best receivers in school history, BJ Johnson played alongside the much hyped Roy Williams and Sloan Thomas, and formed the greatest trio that the Longhorns have seen at receiver from 2000-2003.  He became the first Freshman to start at wide receiver since 1992 for the Longhorns, and finished 2nd in receptions and receiving yards among all Freshman wide receivers nationally. He broke the school single game Freshman receiving record with 9 catches for 168 yards against Baylor that year.  Later on,  BJ set the school record for the longest TD reception, a 92 yard bomb against the Houston Cougars and averaged a walloping 44 yards per TD reception. Johnson finished in the Top 10 All-Time for the Longhorns in receptions (152,
ranked 6th), touchdowns (16, ranked 5th), and yards receiving (2,359, ranked 5th) as quarterback Major Applewhite‘s favorite target. He considers his first TD grab as a Freshman in a losing effort to Stanford as his favorite play.

utud11 bjjohnsonJohnson played unknowingly on a broken tibia in 2003, causing him to tumble off draft boards, after he strained an oblique during the Senior Bowl. He’d be signed by the Denver Broncos to a UDFA after the draft. He rehabbed and made the team, but injuries kept mounting for BJ. He’d break his ankle and then the following year tore his hamstring. BJ signed with Tampa in 2005, but messed up his shoulder, deciding to hang up his cleats.

In 2015, Johnson launched a line of Vodka called MVP with Roy Williams, that he’s been marketing around Texas. Appearing alongside other former Longhorn greats as well at bottle signings, I decided to give it a shot with Shawn and Nate when I saw that it was a nice cast of Johnson, Williams, and VY. Johnson was more than happy to sign a few cards for a Longhorn fan, and discussed with us the almost medieval sounding hoops that his company had to jump through with the different alcohol sellers- since it is still dominated by mom and pop stores.

I have 3 or 4 more cards of BJ that I hope to get signed in at a future MVP event near Austin, but it appears that their advertised meet and greet events are on hiatus around town for the time being.

 

 

Demps, Quintin

Cards:  SP Authentics 2008 (351/1399), Playoff Contenders 2008, Bowman 2008, TNT UFL 2011
Acquired:  In Person 2016, Houston Texans Battle Red Stampede Tour

What a long, strange, windy road its been for Quintin Demps.  A ballhawk at safety, Demps punctuated his career with the rare accomplishment of two 100 yard interception returns for touchdowns. He also recorded a total of 17 career interceptions while playing at Texas-El Paso.  His combine numbers were encouraging enough, and again he proved that he had the wheels to be in the pros with a 4.39 40 combine showing.  Scouts scrutinized his tape and did not like his fundamentals. They thought he was a sloppy tackler, didn’t have the size (5’11”) to play safety, and despite his 40 showing, scouts were doubtful he could transition to cornerback because of a perceived lack of speed at the second level. Demps was selected in the 4th round of the 2008 draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.

He set out to prove scouts wrong, and as a kick returner Quintin had a solid debut with 52 returns for 1314 yards, a 25.3 yard average, and a TD on a 100 yard return.  He did not see any playing time as a starter, but recorded his first sack and forced fumble playing sparingly on defense during his rookie season.  Quintin didn’t see much time playing for the Eagles in 2009 either. He’d be released among the final cut downs in 2010.

Unable to find a team, Quintin signed with the Hartford Colonials of the fledgling United Football League mid-season and made an immediate impact. He recorded 8 tackles, and a spectacular interception against the Las Vegas Locos, returning it 73 yards to paydirt.  The Texans liked what they saw and took a flyer on the young defensive back, stashing him behind  Bernard Pollard, Eugene Wilson, and Troy Nolan as a special teamer.

In the off-season the Texans fired defensive coordinator Frank Bush. In came Wade Phillips to retool everything. After releasing Pollard and Wilson, Houston made many free agent moves, including bringing in Danieal Manning. They also drafted Brandon Harris and Shiloh Keo.  By the end of camp Demps was the odd man out, but soon thereafter was resigned by the Texans as Manning suffered a fibula injury.  He’d see more action on defense than ever before, recording 2 interceptions for 47 yards and 20 tackles in 2011. Although he missed some time in 2012 with a broken forearm, he still contributed another 21 tackles.

Left unprotected, Quintin signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013. In 6 starts, he put up 4 interceptions for 61 yards and 25 tackles.  He also had his most extensive playtime since his rookie year returning kicks with 33 returns for 992 yards and a 95 yard TD. Demps then played in 2014 for the New York Giants. Demps started 9 games for the Giants, and recorded 4 interceptions for 19 yards and 41 tackles.

Demps returned ‘home’ to the Texans in 2015 and is seen in the show Hard Knocks on HBO talking to general manager Rick Smith. He was brought in to compete with veterans Stevie Brown and Rahim Moore in the safety rotation, but in the end became the starter at strong safety over Eddie Pleasant.  Demps started 13 games for the Texans hauling in an interception, 1 FF, 35 tackles, and .5 sacks. Happy with how Demps had matured like a fine wine over time, the Texans signed him again for the 2016 season.  Quintin responded with his best season as a pro, starting 13 games and pacing the team by intercepting 6 passes for 54 yards and 38 tackles. The Texans finished first in total defense for the first time after the 2016 season, largely due to the coheasive secondary play, led by Jackson, Bouye, Joseph, Hal, and Demps. Quintin gets no respect. Even though he was first at his position in interceptions on the #1 defense in the league, he didn’t earn a Pro Bowl berth. After the season, the Texans once again allowed Demps to leave for greener pastures. In March of 2017, he signed a multiyear contract with the Chicago Bears.

With one of my friends visiting from out of town, she got to see how geeky I could get about these sorts of things.  Quintin was a really cool guy at the Academy Battle Red Stampede Tour with fellow player Jonathan Grimes. Demps really liked the custom I did of him from back in the UFL days. He was amazed that I had gotten a photograph of him after he returned that interception for a TD against the Locos.  I was very proud of that find as I actually got a high resolution screen shot from the video feed of the game.  He kindly signed 4 cards for me during the event.

Hill, Austin

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Cards: Leaf Draft Metal 2015, Sage 2015
Acquired: 2016, Box Breaker

His Sophomore season was a breakout year at Arizona, as Austin Hill had 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns. Unfortunately he tore his ACL, going down in the second-to-last practice of the spring. After he returned in 2014, his numbers fell to 48 receptions for 630 yards and 4 TDs.  Concern lingered into the draft about his knee, and Austin went undrafted.

Austin has kept the dream alive, and his agent must be commended for how he’s kept Hill in the face of executives and scouts. He has been on the rosters of no less than 5 teams including the Raiders, Jets, Patriots, and the CFL Ottawa Redblacks. He became a fan favorite on NFL’s Hard Knocks with the Los Angeles Rams at his last and most recent stop, with his pure love for the game and his daughter.  He was among the final cuts made by the team, but may make an impression on an NFL team’s practice squad somewhere.

 

Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.