Vanderbilt wide receiver Cam Johnson is well known in the Nashville area.
The redshirt freshman speedster starred at Brentwood Academy on the football field and in track and field. On Saturday, Johnson added to his local legend status, scoring the game-winning touchdown in Vanderbilt’s 21-14 upset of the then-No. 22-ranked Missouri Tigers at Vanderbilt Stadium.
“I just ran my route,” Johnson said “The line held up and I had great pass protection. (Riley Neal) threw a good ball and once I made the first guy miss — as a receiver we always talk about we’re not going to get inside the 5-yard line and not get our touchdown — once I got to about the 3-yard line and I saw the guys coming, it was just sort of a man-on-man battle and I tried to will myself in.”
The 21-yard touchdown was Johnson’s only reception of the game, but the Brentwood native is quickly establishing himself as a go-to option for whichever of Vanderbilt’s three QBs is throwing the ball.
His best games came in back-to-back weeks against LSU and Northern Illinois where he had two receptions for 54 yards and six receptions for 64 yards, respectively.
Last season, Johnson had just four receptions for 45 yards. In 2019, he is tied for the team-lead with two touchdown grabs. And his 19 receptions and 205 yards are third on the team behind Kalija Lipscomb and Ke’Shawn Vaughn in both categories.
Third-string quarterback Mo Hasan got the start over Riley Neal and Deuce Wallace, completing 7 of 11 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown before suffering an injury and giving way to Neal.
“I knew on Sunday,” VU coach Derek Mason said of when he knew Hasan would start. “Coming off that (UNLV loss), we needed something different. It put a little pressure on (Neal), but at the end of the day, I knew (Hasan) was going to be the dude. That’s what we went with it and it worked.”
Neal came in during the second half, completing 3 of 8 passes for 45 yards, an interception and Johnson’s game-winning 21-yard touchdown.
This post originally appeared in our sister publication, the Nashville Post.