Tulsa's Damaris Johnson Earns Athlete of the Month Honor park
A pair of Conference USA football stars went down to the wire in voting for the Greater New Orleans Amateur Athlete of the Month for November, but it was the University of Tulsa's diminutive Damaris Johnson who edged Tulane's standout freshman Orleans Darkwa for the honor which is selected by the Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Greater New Orleans Amateur Athletes of the Month
Johnson, a Norco, La., native, who prepped at Destrehan, has made a huge impact at Tulsa and in Conference USA. For two years in a row he led the nation in all-purpose yards, averaging 191.8 yards per game. He began the month of November by becoming Conference USA's all-time leading career kick returner, surpassing 3,300 yards. He finished the season with 1,069 return yards and a pair of touchdowns.
As a receiver, he had 22 receptions for 448 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns, all in the month of November. His regular season totals were 771 receiving yards on 53 catches, and 462 rushing.
On Dec. 7 the junior was named first-team all-conference as a punt returner and second-team as a wide receiver.
Johnson exceeded the previous kickoff return record holder, Western Michigan's Brandon West, by 190 yards. He is also quickly moving into the "high-rent district" among all-time all purpose leaders in NCAA history. He is currently fourth all-time with 7,470 yards (the record is 7,764 yards).
Johnson and the Golden Hurricane will play against Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 24.
Darkwa also had a sensational month, tallying three 100-yard rushing games and totaled 445 yards on 96 carries (111.3 yards per game, 4.6 yards per carry). He rushed for five touchdowns and went 2-for-2 for 43 yards and two touchdowns as a passer against Rice. Darkwa finished the year having set Green Wave freshman season records for rushing yards (925), rushing touchdowns (11) and consecutive 100-yard rushing games (5).
The Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee has been selecting an Amateur Athlete of the Month each month since 1958. The athlete must be a native of the greater New Orleans area or must compete for a team in the metropolitan region in order to be eligible. Each of the monthly award winners will be honored in the summer at the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony, hosted by the Allstate Sugar Bowl.