ECU Head Coach Ruffin McNeill Welcomes Back 14 Returning Starters, 50 Lettermen
Senior OLB Tallied C-USA Best 8.0 Sacks In 2013
Four Pirates Named Preseason All-Conference USA
Senior Linebacker Is Lone Conference USA Representative
In prime position to initiate an honors-producing senior campaign at the national level as a four-year starter ... Move to an outside linebacking position during ECU's schematic switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 in 2011 fueled development and accelerated depth chart climb ... Coaches wanting to take added advantage of athleticism, quickness and strength facilitated relocation to a "stand-up" role among unit's front seven ... Was pressed by Maurice Falls and Jake Geary during spring drills but is expected to open senior season on top of the unit's two-deep at the "will" slot ... A 2013 First-Team Preseason All-Conference USA selection by Athlon Sports and Phil Steele's College Football Preview Magazine ... Also included on the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) Watch List (top 40 linebackers at the FBS level) ... Collected a tackle in the first live spring scrimmage on April 6 and finished drills with four stops during the Purple-Gold Game on April 20 ... An early (January, 2010) enrollee whose participation in spring workouts two months later helped spark a quick acclimation period that resulted in a starting assignment as a true freshman at one of the defensive end slots ... Rates as one of the top performers in the Pirates' strength and conditioning program ... Off-season testing produced a new all-time position and team record with a 405-pound push jerk ... Other "excellent-rated" status marks include a bench press of 425 pounds, a power clean of 338 pounds, a back squat of 585 pounds, a vertical leap of 35", a broad jump of 115" and a 40 time of 4.58 ... Has played in 37 games and will open the 2013 campaign with 36-straight starts, which serves as the longest active streak in the ECU program ... Has recorded multiple tackles in 30 of 37 outings and has booked at least one tackle in 25 consecutive contests, dating back to the 2011 season opener vs. South Carolina.
2012: An All-Conference USA (second-team) performer as a junior ... Started all 13 games at one of the outside linebacking slots and tallied 62 stops (27 solo) - ranking third on the unit... Topped the Pirates in sacks (7.0/-36 yards), TFLs (11.0/-49 yards), fumble recoveries (2) and quarterback hurries (8) ... Produced a career-high 14 tackles (five solo) during the regular season finale against Marshall ... Booked multiple tackles in 12 of 13 contests ... Recorded sacks against UTEP (1.0/-3 yards), Houston (2.0/-10), Tulane (1.5/-7) and Marshall (2.0/-16) ... Credited with multiple QBHs against Appalachian State (2), North Carolina (2) and UTEP (2) ... Recovered fumbles at South Carolina and against Marshall ... Fumble scoop against the Herd came in the second overtime period to set up ECU's victory ... Registered five or more stops on four occasions ... Credited with TFLs against South Carolina (2.0/-5 yards), North Carolina (0.5/-1), UTEP (1.0/-3), UAB (2.0/-7), Houston (2.0/-10), Tulane (1.5/-7) and Marshall (2.0/-16) ... Netted 7.5 (of 11.0) tackles for lost yardage and 6.0 (of 7.0) sacks in the last six contests ... Forty-three of 62 stops were on running plays, ranking third on squad ... A key component of a defensive unit that held four opponents to less than 100 yards rushing (USM/91, UAB/82, UH/28, TUL/9) ... Ranked among the C-USA leaders in sacks (8th) and TFLs (12th) ... Earned the program's "Defensive MVP" honor during its annual awards banquet.
2011: Continued rapid and impressive development process while serving as a starting defensive end for all 12 games ... Finished second among ECU linemen with 39 tackles, including 13 solo hits ... Booked career single-season highs with 5.5 tackles for lost yardage (-20), three sacks (-17 yards) and a trio of quarterback hurries (two/Marshall, one/UAB) ... 5.5 TFL were tied for the most on the squad ... 12.7 percent of career stops are hits behind the line of scrimmage ... Started the season with a TFL in three-straight games and ended the campaign making at least a half stop for lost yardage in the final two contests ... Forced first two fumbles of career, jarring a ball loose against Virginia Tech and UAB ... Tallied the seventh-most tackles on rushing plays of any Pirate with 33 ... Booked a season-high five tackles against North Carolina, UTEP and UCF ... Registered 28 of year's 39 stops during Conference USA games ... Led the team with a pair of sacks during league tilts ... In home contests, paced the squad with 3.5 tackles for lost yardage and two sacks ... Able to sustain productivity throughout the campaign, collecting 18 hits during the first six games and 21 over the final six ... Collected four of game's five tackles at UTEP in the second half ... Lone tackle versus Tulane was a fourth-quarter sack of five yards on Ryan Griffin during the Green Wave's final drive of the contest ... Brought down Houston's Michael Hayes for a five-yard loss in the third quarter, giving him a TFL in four of the season's first five games ... Booked five tackles, all on rushes, against North Carolina, making one hit in each quarter and two in the third ... Matched year best with two solo hits versus the Tar Heels ... Sacked UAB's Bryan Ellis for a loss of six yards in the second frame ... On the same play, forced a fumble, giving Johnson back-to-back contests causing a loose ball after stripping Virginia Tech's David Wilson during third quarter action of the previous game ... Credited with season's first quarterback hurry in the third quarter against the Blazers, forcing an Ellis incompletion ... Set season high with two solo stops against UAB ... Sacked South Carolina's Connor Shaw for a six-yard loss.
2010: Enjoyed standout true freshman campaign, appearing in 12 games and starting 11 along the defensive line ... Lone contest missed was Tulsa and did not start versus Memphis ... Totaled 40 tackles, 39 on rushing plays, with 15 solo hits and 25 assists ... Booked 4.5 tackles for lost yardage and one sack ... Registered a pair of quarterback hurries ... Started first career game at Virginia Tech after debuting a week earlier against the Tigers ... Made a stop in every game played except Virginia Tech and Maryland ... Booked four or more stops five times (four/Memphis, seven/North Carolina, six/Southern Miss, nine/N.C. State, five/Navy) ... Recorded at least a half TFL in three of last four games (1.0/UAB, 1.0/Rice, 0.5/SMU) ... Tallied first career sack at UAB, bringing down Bryan Ellis for a five-yard loss in fourth quarter ... Made all five stops (five assists) against Navy in the first three quarters ... Recorded a career-high nine tackles against N.C. State with five in the second quarter ... Tied season high with four solo stops versus the Wolfpack ... Two quarterback hurries of NCSU's Russell Wilson during the first drive of the fourth quarter were the first of career ... Credited with first career solo TFL at Southern Miss, throwing V.J. Floyd for a one-yard loss on the final play of the second quarter ... Booked seven tackles at North Carolina, all after the first quarter ... Established personal best with four solo hits versus the Tar Heels ... Stop of UNC's Johnny White in second quarter was first career solo tackle ... Officially inked with the ECU program during the February signing period, but enrolled in classes a month earlier.
Prep School: Helped Blue Knights and coach Terry Karg to a No. 3 national ranking among the nation's prep schools ... Wyoming Seminary went 7-1 with the only loss being a 7-6 defeat at Poly Prep Country Day ... Part of a defensive unit that held opponents to only 6.8 points per game and posted three shutouts.
High School: Graduated from The Cardinal Gibbons School in Baltimore, Md. ... Tallied 150 tackles as a senior ... Named to the All-Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association team after his final campaign.
Personal: Full name is Derrell Kevin Johnson ... Born March 27, 1990 at Baltimore, Md. ... Brother Durand is currently a sophomore forward on the Pitt Panthers basketball roster ... Major is information technologies.