Bill Johnson helped usher in the Bowden Wyatt coaching era with three consecutive winning seasons and an SEC Championship. After a 6-3-1 season, Johnson was Wyatt's starting guard in 1956 and 1957. The lineman pushed Tennessee to the national spotlight his junior season as the Vols finished with an undefeated regular season and won the SEC as the nation's second-ranked team. But the next year, Johnson earned national notoriety himself when he was given All-America status. On the defensive side, Johnson helped hold UT opponents to 109 pass attempts for just 501 yards on the season, both school records.
WHY I WORE THE NUMBER
"I was very proud to finally have my number 66. I came to Tennessee as a walk-on for the 2005 season and dressed out in four games that year. I made the travel squad during the 2006 season and again in the 2007 season and each time I had a different number for each season. Each spring and fall, I kept wondering what new number the equipment staff would give me. The equipment staff gave me number 66 at the start of spring practice in 2007 and for the season that fall, but I wasn't sure if I would get to keep the number for the rest of my career at Tennessee. It was somewhat disheartening not being able to have that identity of your own number. People on the street would ask, "Do you play for Tennessee?" Then I would proudly say, "Yes I do." And it was almost certain that next would come, "What number are you?" I would respond with whatever number I wore last season, not knowing if my number would be the same next year. Also, signing autographs became tough as well because you had to make sure you were signing the right number next to your name. It wasn't until the fall of 2008 when I knew that #66 was going to be my number. That August during camp, Coach Fulmer awarded me with an athletic scholarship. It was one of the proudest moments of my life, but not quite as proud as being selected as the starting center for the 2009 season and playing alongside my brother Cory throughout the season. It was really just a dream come true."