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Titans Take Chris Johnson In First Round Of NFL Draft

GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina University running back and return specialist Chris Johnson was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the first round (24th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft Saturday.

With his selection, Johnson matches former Pirate linebacker Robert Jones, who was also the 24th overall pick in the 1992 draft, as ECU's highest draft choice ever.

He is also the 12th ECU running back in history to be drafted and immediately follows wide receiver Aundrae Allison, who was taken by the Minnesota Vikings in the fifth round of last year's event. East Carolina has had at least one player chosen in 14 of the past 19 drafts.

A First-Team All-America selection by Pro Football Weekly and a two-time First-Team All-Conference USA performer, Johnson recently completed his four-year Pirate career with a school-record 6,993 all-purpose yards as the program's top running back and kickoff returner since 2004.

He authored a total of 18 single-game, single-season and career standards at the conclusion of his senior campaign, leaving East Carolina as the Pirates' all-time leader in kickoff return yardage (2,715), touchdowns (44), receptions and reception yards (125-1,296) by a running back.

Johnson turned in his finest season as a senior in 2007, topping all Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) players to capture the national statistical championship in all-purpose yards (227.7 ypg) while also standing among the Top 25 in scoring (4th/11.08 ppg), kickoff return average (18th/28.03 ypr) and rushing (24th/109.46 ypg). In addition to representing a career-best, his 1,423 ground yards marked the highest individual total at ECU since 2001 while his 24 touchdowns and 144 points served as a school single-season record.

Johnson matched or bettered the East Carolina single-game record for all-purpose yards on three occasions when he racked up 372 vs. UCF, 408 vs. Memphis and 408 vs. Boise State, which also rated as the second and third-highest all-purpose yard FBS performances in 2007. He ran for a personal-best 301 yards against the Tigers at the Liberty Bowl on Nov. 3 before following with a Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl-record 223-yard ground effort vs. the Broncos on Dec. 23, which helped him set an all-time single NCAA Bowl record for all-purpose yards.

In all, Johnson posted nine 100-yard rushing and two 100-yard receiving games during his career, which were accomplished in 36 starts spanning 47 total contests. He led the Pirates in rushing as a freshman, sophomore and senior, and currently ranks third on the school’s all-time rushing charts (2,982) and sixth on the receptions list (125).

The 2007 Conference USA Media Special Teams Player-of-the-Year also left an impression on the league's record books, capturing career marks in kickoff return yardage and kickoff returns (115).

"I'm exceptionally proud of Chris and excited for the opportunity he has earned," ECU Head Coach Skip Holtz said. "You always like to see players enjoy success, especially those who possess the incredible work ethic and commitment that Chris has. The contributions he has made to the East Carolina program are special and will leave a lasting impression on us all. I know I speak for the entire Pirate Nation in wishing him nothing but the very best in his professional career."

Johnson was an All-Orange County choice as a senior at Olympia High School in Orlando, Fla., prior to signing with the ECU program as a wide receiver in February of 2004. As a track athlete, he ran the anchor leg on a 4x100 relay squad that captured the Golden South and Golden West National Championships.

Johnson, who will turn 23 on September 23, also became ECU's highest running back ever picked in school history - topping Tony Collins' 19th selection of the second round in 1981 by the New England Patriots.

His selection also marked the first time an ECU player was drafted by the Titans. A program-high four players have been selected each by the Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings in previous drafts.

ALL-TIME EAST CAROLINA FOOTBALL DRAFT HISTORY
(year, round, pick, overall pick, name, team, pos)
2008, 1, 24, 24, Chris Johnson, Titans, RB
2007, 5, 9, 146, Aundrae Allison, Vikings, WR
2006, 4, 32, 129, Guy Whimper, Giants, OT
2004, 7, 45, 246, Brian Rimpf, Ravens, OT
2002, 4, 10, 108, David Garrard, Jaguars, QB
2002, 7, 30, 241, Leonard Henry, Dolphins, RB
1999, 5, 20, 153, Roderick Coleman, Raiders, DE
1999, 6, 32, 201, Troy Smith, Eagles, WR
1998, 3, 21, 82, Larry Shannon, Dolphins, WR
1997, 5, 1, 131, Lamont Burns, Jets, OG
1996, 4, 16, 111, Emmanuel McDaniel, Panthers, DB
1996, 5, 2, 134, Jerris McPhail, Dolphins, RB
1994, 6, 4, 165, Bernard Carter, Buccaneers, LB
1994, 7, 8, 202, Carlester Crumpler, Jr., Seahawks, TE
1993, 6, 8, 148, Tom Scott, Bengals, OT
1992, 1, 24, 24, Robert Jones, Cowboys, LB
1992, 6, 26, 166, Jeff Blake, Jets, QB
1992, 8, 14, 210, Luke Fisher, Vikings, TE
1992, 9, 26, 250, Chris Hall, Cowboys, DB
1992, 10, 22, 274, Dion Johnson, Oilers, WR
1991, 9, 3, 226, Ernie Logan, Falcons, DE
1990, 3, 14, 67, Walter Wilson, Chargers, WR
1990, 5, 1, 110, Junior Robinson, Patriots, DB
1990, 7, 14, 179, James Singletary, Colts, LB
1990, 10, 27, 275, Anthony Thompson, Broncos, LB
1988, 8, 5, 198, Anthony Simpson, Buccaneers, RB
1988, 10, 4, 253, Ellis Dillahunt, Bengals, DB
1986, 6, 27, 165, Kevin Walker, Buccaneers, DB
1986, 10, 3, 252, Tony Baker, Falcons, RB
1985, 3, 24, 80, Stefon Adams, Raiders, DB
1985, 8, 4, 200, Ricky Nichols, Colts, WR
1984, 2, 27, 55, Steve Hamilton, Redskins, DE
1984, 4, 27, 111, Terry Long, Steelers, OG
1984, 5, 3, 115, Clint Harris, Giants, DB
1984, 5, 13, 125, Jeff Pegues, Redskins, LB
1984, 5, 21, 133, Hal Stephens, Rams, DE
1984, 10, 1, 253, Norwood Vann, Rams, TE
1984, 10, 28, 280, Earnest Byner, Browns, RB
1984, 11, 4, 284, John Robertson, Eagles, OT
1983, 2, 18, 46, Jody Schulz, Eagles, LB
1982, 4, 2, 85, George Crump, Patriots, DE
1982, 4, 7, 90, Tootie Robbins, Cardinals, OT
1981, 2, 19, 47, Tony Collins, Patriots, RB
1980, 11, 11, 288, Sam Harrell, Vikings, RB
1980, 12, 9, 314, Mike Brewington, Chiefs, LB
1979, 2, 28, 56, Zack Valentine, Steelers, LB
1979, 6, 21, 158, Eddie Hicks, Giants, RB
1978, 6, 28, 166, Harold Randolph, Cowboys, LB
1977, 6, 27, 166, Reggie Pinkney, Lions, DB
1974, 4, 2, 80, Carl Summerell, Giants, QB
1974, 4, 17, 95, Carlester Crumpler, Bills, RB
1973, 16, 1, 391, Tim Dameron, Oilers, WR
1973, 17, 22, 438, Leslie Strayhorn, Cowboys, RB
1969, 17, 1, 417, Wayne Lineberry, Bills, LB
1964, 14, 5, 187, Tom Michel, Vikings, RB
1961, 5, 8, 64, Glenn Bass, Cardinals, TE
1951, 28, 12, 339, Roger Thrift, Browns, QB


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