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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Caleb Johnson: TXST’s offensive line anchor

Kobe Arriaga
Texas State redshirt senior center Caleb Johnson (74) gazes at the crowd after the game versus Troy, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, at Bobcat Stadium.

Texas State’s offensive line is anchored by transfer redshirt senior Caleb Johnson, who has spent the better part of the last decade playing collegiate football.

At 6 feet 6 inches tall weighing in at 335 pounds, Johnson is an imposing figure on the field. His stature attracted the attention of high school teammates who coined the nickname ‘Big Country’ for him. But, while attending the University of Incarnate Word, Johnson’s decision to shave his head led to a new name, given to him by his Texas State offensive line coach Jordan Shoemaker.

“He used to have hair, and he used to try to hang onto it,” Shoemaker said. “He’s thinning a lot like me. [He] walked into a meeting one time, and he shaved his head, so it was on from that. ‘Big show.’”

Named after former WWE wrestler ‘Big Show’, Johnson has continued to shave his head bald. Things like nicknames are a part of what Johnson loves most about college football. With his tenure coming to an end after this season, he remembers the best parts of his playing time.

“The comradery between the teammates. The relationships you build,” Johnson said. “There’s guys that I even remember from JUCO that I still have good relationships with, that I wouldn’t have at all without football. That’s the biggest thing.”

Johnson’s desire to foster relationships with his teammates has impacted those around him as well. Fellow offensive lineman Jimeto Obigbo transferred to Texas State from UIW with Johnson and said knowing he was coming with Johnson was important.

“It definitely played a part,” Obigbo said. “I wanted the comradery of the line since we did so good at UIW. I know what [Johnson] is going to do, and he knows what I’m going to do.”

With seven years of college football experience under his belt, teammates look to Johnson as a helpful resource on the field.

“He calls the front,” Obigbo said. “If I get something wrong, he’s there making sure I’m good. We just work hand-in-hand.”

Shoemaker has been with Johnson since UIW and has seen his development on and off the field.

“His biggest improvement that I’ve seen is just his growth into a true young man,” Shoemaker said. “The maturity that I’ve seen over the years, you know. Not having to worry about his classes anymore, him being lazy in the classroom. Everything is important to him. And [I’m] also seeing him become a great leader.”

This season Johnson won the starting center job after battling through spring and fall practices, making him the focal point of the offensive line. After spending the entirety of last season as an All-American left guard, he has embraced the new role.

“I enjoy it,” Johnson said. “I really like every position. As long as I’m starting, I don’t really care that much. I think it helps me, knowing every position.”

Obigbo doubles as a roommate for Johnson, as the two share a house with the rest of the UIW offensive linemen transfers. He said he is just as grateful to have Johnson as a friend as he is to have him as a teammate.

“He’s a great guy,” Obigbo said. “He’s a helping hand. A shoulder you can lean on when you need one, just a great person to be around.”

Johnson’s lone year as a Bobcat has been one of the most exciting in Texas State’s history in the Football Bowl Subdivision. With larger than normal home crowds, Johnson has enjoyed playing at Bobcat Stadium for his final season of college football, he said.

“It’s really great, I enjoy it,” Johnson said. “It’s really some good juice for the team too because we know y’all are behind us, as a student section and as a whole. I don’t know the numbers, but we had one of the most in attendance since ten years ago as a whole. And then the student section we’re on the leader boards. So, the support is awesome, it really pumps us up.”



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