Campus News · Feature · Sports

Grizzly’s weight loss journey

Riley Wagner

Reporting I Student

Weight loss journeys look different for everyone who has them. For most, it might be a mid-life crisis or a middle-aged decision to change their figure. 

But for Karter Johnson, a former Texas Christian University (TCU) defensive tackle now turned tight end, it was just a part of his journey.

Johnson grew up in Columbus, Ohio where he found his love for football. There, he weighed around 340 pounds. 

“I was unhealthy, but I could move,” he said.

Johnson started gaining traction with D1 schools such as Michigan State, Indiana and West Virginia. As a four-star recruit, you have a lot of school’s attention. Making a choice of where to play is no easy decision. 

With all these offers and after taking his official visits, Johnson eventually came to a decision where he was going to take his talents to TCU. 

“I just felt like with my offers and with who I am as a person, TCU was the best fit,” Johnson said. 

When he arrived at TCU, things were different. Something just seemed off. It wasn’t what he thought.

“I just got there, and it wasn’t at all what I thought it would be like,” he said. 

The transition from living at home to living in the dorms can be quite difficult for some.

It wasn’t the change of lifestyle that made life at TCU hard for Johnson. The sport of football, school and the change of living took a toll on Johnson’s mental state. Something TCU doesn’t take very seriously, he said. 

“They just didn’t care about the health of us as players down there,” Johnson said. 

It was on a Sunday that Johnson decided he needed out. An hour before practice, he just packed up and left.

 “I just needed out of there, that place just wasn’t for me,” he said.  

The stress of leaving and the stress of a recent break up that he had with his girlfriend back home changed him. It made him want to be better.

 “I just wanted to be everything that she wanted and show her I was better,” he said referring to what drove him. 

“I love football, but I wanted to make plays with the ball in my hands, and for that I needed to lose weight,” he said.

At Johnson’s most, he weighed 330 pounds in October 2019 while at TCU. With that, his new journey began. 

“Long distance running and eating less is how I did it,” he said.  “Push-ups are a good way to get rid of your side fat.”

A new and improved Johnson entered the transfer portal after he left Texas Christian. Not knowing what would happen or where he’d land, Johnson took a shot. He kept his head down and kept working on bettering himself.

 “I just needed to do it for me: time for a positive change,” he said. 

It was tough, but so was Johnson. He kept working and stuck to his plan every day of running 10 miles per week and eating one meal a day. His meals mostly contained chicken or some other meat with little to no sides. If there was a side, it was more than likely rice, and other times steamed or raw vegetables.

Johnson saw results: five pounds, 10 pounds and so on. His results came fast, too.

 “It was like 10 pounds in two weeks,” Johnson said.

No matter how fast the results came, Johnson still needed a new home. Multiple teams would talk to him on social media about his abilities as a college football player. Others who he thought were interested showed none in him at all. It wasn’t until late January, early February, that Butler Community College showed their interest. 

But Johnson needed a new position by now, he had lost 65 pounds and weighed 265. 

“I played tight end in high school, so I knew basic stuff on the position,” Johnson said. “I just knew I wanted the ball, so I figured I’d try it out.”

Now Johnson weighs 225 pounds and is a tight end here at Butler. 

“I’m so thankful and happy to come to a school like this where I feel like they care, and the school cares,” he said “At the end of the day football is a sport I love and I am thankful for the journey it has taken me through.”

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