It was a challenging summer for most high school athletes, but one that ended with a bang for Flour Bluff offensive lineman Johnny Dickson.
Flour Bluff assistant head coach and veteran offensive line coach Ron Rodgers spoke highly of Dickson before the 2019 season and the 6-foot-3, 285-pound lineman backed it up in his first full varsity season as a sophomore.
Though COVID-19 canceled spring football at Flour Bluff and limited summer strength and conditioning opportunities, Dickson kept working.
Dickson, who lives on base at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, had access to the gym there and made the most of it.
“My mom didn’t want me leaving base that much because of coronavirus,” Dickson said. “Our base gym was open every day. I was at the gym putting in work for two or three hours every day. I was also running sprints on the track there and doing about two miles a day.”
Adding more muscle to his frame, he turned his coaches’ heads when he returned bigger for summer workouts. Word got around in college recruiting circles and as the summer wound down, Dickson started picking up offers.
“He didn’t have much to do but lift and it paid big dividends for him,” Flour Bluff coach Chris Steinbruck said. “He came back June 8 and he was bigger and stronger. A lot of our guys were in that situation. They are disciplined and have been around a program with high expectations.
“I think our coaching staff has done a tremendous job to keep them engaged with the things we did on Google Classroom. I think that will pay off this season.”
Oklahoma State was the first to offer Dickson and Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Virginia Tech offered the three-star prospect, with many more showing high interest.
Steinbruck said beyond his athletic ability, Dickson is on Flour Bluff football’s leadership team and is a strong student. The success of Hornets athletes that have made the jump to college football before Dickson helps college coaches trust what they are getting when they recruit at Flour Bluff.
“The new coaches that come to recruit our area all say the same thing: The coach they replaced all said ‘You’ve got to go to Flour Bluff.’ That is a testament to our program. We hold our kids accountable. They feel good when our kids go they will be able to not only play, but graduate,” Steinbruck said.
Even though he was successful last season in his first season on offense, Dickson said there was more to strive for during the offseason.
“I feel like I’ve gotten a lot stronger from last year,” Dickson said. “Last year I felt like I was strong, but I know I needed to get stronger to compete with the top tackles we played like Big T (Anthony Guerrero) at Veterans Memorial. I wanted to get stronger and fire off the ball faster. I have a quick step, but I want to get faster for this year.”
While working toward fulfilling his dream of playing Division I football, Dickson said his goals are all team-oriented.
“We want to do something that has never been done before here: win the region,” Dickson said. “We have a chance of doing that this year. All the hard workouts we’ve been doing over the summer was specifically putting in the work to try to win the region.”
The Hornets have several key three-year starters returning including running back Isaac Miles, safety Rayden Campbell and linebacker Diego Delgado to go with a veteran front line led by Dickson, Jonny Camacho and Nick Lopez.
Steinbruck said the veteran leadership will help ease first-year starting quarterback Nash Villegas into the mix.
“The summer did drag on a little bit, but as you can see by the intensity we have out here, these guys are ready to play a season,” Steinbruck said.
The Hornets scrimmage San Antonio Southwest this week before opening the regular season against Rockport-Fulton on Sept. 25.
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FLOUR BLUFF HORNETS
Coach: Chris Steinbruck
District: 15-5A Division I
2019 record: 8-4 (6-2 in District 15-5A Division I)
Quinton Martinez covers all things sports in South Texas. Support local coverage like this by checking out our subscription options and special offers at Caller.com/subscribe