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Johnson wants to be Saints' latest find

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; METAIRIE — Rookie linebacker Rufus Johnson hopes his journey from Division II to the NFL in New Orleans is boosting his ailing father’s morale. Indeed, while many Saints were preparing to enjoy a weekend off following the final practice on ...

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Old 06-08-2013, 11:22 AM   #1
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METAIRIE — Rookie linebacker Rufus Johnson hopes his journey from Division II to the NFL in New Orleans is boosting his ailing father’s morale.

Indeed, while many Saints were preparing to enjoy a weekend off following the final practice on minicamp on Thursday, Johnson planned a short flight home to Dallas and some quality time in the hospital room of his father, Rufus Sr.

“When I do get to talk to my dad, I got a feeling I keep my father strong,” said Johnson, who declined to go into detail about his father’s illness beyond saying it related to diabetes. “I’m the reason my father is still here.”

The 6-foot-5, 272-pound Johnson, drafted in the sixth round out of Tarleton State, is only the latest example of the Saints hoping to mine small college programs for big-league talent. Since coach Sean Payton took over in 2006, they’ve found one of the NFL’s best offensive guards, Jahri Evans, at Division II Bloomsburg, and one of the franchise’s all-time great receivers, Marques Colston, at Hofstra, which was Division I-AA (since renamed FCS) before the program was dropped altogether. Former starting left tackle Jermon Bushrod, who left in free agency this offseason, was drafted out of Towson, also of the FCS.

New Orleans’ director of college scouting, Rick Reiprish, said his scouts visited Tarleton, in Texas, a couple times to get a look at Johnson, who played defensive end in college.

He had 17.5 tackles for losses last season, 10 of them sacks, and was named the Lone Star Conference defensive lineman of the year.

Scouts also watched him play, and met him for the first time, at the Texas vs. The Nation college all-star game, where Johnson lined up against players from some of the country’s elite Division I programs.

“This kid really stood out,” Reiprish said. “We had a chance to visit with him some and we really started liking him, just watching his athletic ability down there.”

Having met with the Saints’ coaching staff about new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s 3-4 scheme, in which outside linebackers play roles similar to pass-rushing defensive ends, scouts deemed Johnson a good fit.

Read more: Johnson wants to be Saints' latest find | HoumaToday.com

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Old 06-08-2013, 11:57 AM   #2
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Re: Johnson wants to be Saints' latest find

Go get them Rufus, your my this years #1 pick to excel on D. I would not count this guy out he has the size, speed and nasty enough to do great things!!
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Old 06-08-2013, 12:56 PM   #3
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Re: Johnson wants to be Saints' latest find

Live your dream, go get them. We need all the help we can get on the D side of the ball.
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Old 06-08-2013, 09:24 PM   #4
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Re: Johnson wants to be Saints' latest find

Rufus songs - Bing Videos

Well maybe he can tell us something good..... The only thing I know about actually name Rufus now are him, His dad Rufus Sr.... ( Get better BTW) and this group featuring Chaka Khan!!!!
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Old 06-08-2013, 09:35 PM   #5
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Re: Johnson wants to be Saints' latest find

RUFUSSS!!!
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Old 06-08-2013, 10:29 PM   #6
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Re: Johnson wants to be Saints' latest find

It's a good name to cheer for Rufus and don't forget JUNYA!!!
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Old 06-09-2013, 01:26 PM   #7
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Re: Johnson wants to be Saints' latest find

He seems like just the kind of man that Sean Payton wants on this team.
I like people who put others ahead of themselves. I'm pulling for you Ruffus.
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Old 06-09-2013, 02:06 PM   #8
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Re: Johnson wants to be Saints' latest find

All of a sudden we have a ****-ton of players vying for the LB spots...
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Old 06-09-2013, 04:33 PM   #9
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Re: Johnson wants to be Saints' latest find

Seems to have the right attitude and that takes you a long way.
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Old 06-10-2013, 06:40 AM   #10
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Re: Johnson wants to be Saints' latest find

At the end of the day, Rufus has just got to make the other kids' quarterback funky...
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