Ridgeland High School athlete named Wendy's Heisman finalist - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Ridgeland High School athlete named Wendy's Heisman finalist

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ROSSVILLE, GA (WRCB) -- Out of a crowd nearly 50,000 high school athletes, a North Georgia student is a standout. Ridgeland High senior Daniel Johnson is one of 12 people selected to be a finalist for Wendy's High School Heisman.

Daniel Johnson, a 4.0 student-athlete, thought he was being honored for becoming Georgia's recipient of the Wendy's High School Heisman Award in front of a packed gymnasium.

But Wendy's brass didn't make the trip to Ridgeland just for that. "The national panel has selected six men and six women to be our national finalist, you are a national finalist," said a representative from Wendy's to Daniel.

The smile said it all. Johnson will travel to New York for the 78th Heisman Trophy presentation on December 10. It's there where two-time Heisman winner Archie Griffin will present him with a $2,000 check for Ridgeland High School.

"It feels great, I'm so blessed to go," Johnson said. "I'm so excited about going. Knowing all the great athletes in Georgia and in the United States, it's just such a great honor."

If Johnson is named the national winner Ridgeland will receive an additional $1,000.

Johnson is a two sport athlete, in the National Honors Society, class president and juggles it all with a 4.0 GPA.

He's a model student athlete says football head coach Mark Mariakis. "A feather in his cap from all the hard work he's put on, not only on the field but in the classroom to keep a 4.0 and to be a baseball and football star."

Johnson says none of this would be possible if he wasn't involved in sports, but says it's more than just the outcome of the games.

"Football has taught me so much more than about winning. It's taught me how to compete, it's taught me how to be a humble young man and how to work with others. Football teaches you so many skills that are so useful in the work place and in regular life," he said.

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