Southland’s Henry Johnson signs with Emmanuel College’s Shotgun Team

Published 11:57 am Friday, April 21, 2023

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AMERICUS – A huge crowd gathered inside the Melvin Kinslow Gymnasium Thursday afternoon, April 20, to witness Henry Johnson sign a letter of Intent to compete for Emmanuel College on the school’s shotgun team.

Emmanuel College competes at the NCAA Division II level and is located in Franklin Springs, GA in the northeastern part of the state.

Before Johnson signed on the dotted line, SAR Shotgun Coach Stephanie Chapman addressed Johnson in front of the crowd and praised him for his efforts and accomplishments over the past three years.

“Young man, you deserve it. You’re awesome,” Chapman said to Johnson in front of the crowd. “Your family is fabulous. We love all of y’all and without kids like Henry, and without their family commitment, this team wouldn’t be possible.” Chapman went on to say that with all sports at Southland, the family commitment is crucial because without it, the kids would not be supported the way they should be.

As an athlete, Johnson is better known for his exploits on the baseball diamond and the football field, but is not as well known in shooting because most of the crowds haven’t been to see the SAR Shotgun Team compete. However, Johnson accomplishments and accolades as a shooter are numerous.

That very day, it was discovered that Johnson earned First Team All-American honors in American Field Sports. He has contributed mightily to the SAR Shotgun Team during each of his three years competing, as he helped them get to the state tournament in each of those years. He has been one of the top five shooters on the team during the past three years. In the three state tournaments that Johnson has competed in, the Raiders have finished second, second and third place.

Recently, Johnson, along with some of his teammates, went out to Arizona to compete in the U.S. Open and he came back with six trophies.

Johnson is also a member of the Flint River Patriots SATP Team and also shoots NSCA among other things.

Johnson was named GIAA All-State his junior year and competed for the AFS National Championship, which was won by his former SAR teammate and future Emmanuel teammate Jack Stapleton. Stapleton competed for the Raiders in shooting two years ago and now competes for the Emmanuel College Lions. Johnson was also a team captain for the Raiders during his senior year.

For just about all of his life, Johnson has been around shooting. “My Dad owned a small club when I was growing up. It closed in 2012 when my Grandfather passed away,” Johnson said. “I’ve always shot and I’ve always hunted. I found out that Southland had a shotgun team and I didn’t shoot my first year and that’s probably my biggest regret; not shooting earlier, but I like the art of moving a shotgun. It’s a fantastic thing to do.”

Johnson was recruited by Emmanuel College and Georgia Southern, but when it came time to decide, he wanted to compete for the Lions. “You get what you see at Emmanuel,” Johnson said. “The people and the atmosphere there, I just fell in love with it,” Johnson said. “I’ll say Jack Stapleton, who signed with Emmanuel two years ago, he and a guy named Cody James worked on me really good to come up there and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Johnson plans to major in Business Finance while in college and would like to own his own sporting club store and own and manage his own shooting course after he graduates.

Shooting is a sport in the Olympics, and Johnson says that if he can get his Skeet scores up, it would be very fun to do. “It’s more sporting clays right now, but if we can get the skeet trap scores up, I can’t see why not,” Johnson said.

Emmanuel Head Coach John Shealy believes that Johnson has the skill set to make an immediate impact for his club. “He can help the team immediately,” Shealy said. “He’ll have an immediate impact on the team, plus, for a college team, he’s got good grades so his academics is going to be good too. Shealy’s wife, Gina, who is an assistant coach, stated that Johnson’s servant attitude will also be a tremendous asset to the team as well. “He’s got a great attitude that comes with it,” Mrs. Shealy said. “He’s willing to jump in and help and do so in such a fine way.”