Stardom for John Henry Johnson ranged from Pittsburg, California, where he was a high school sensation to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where as a super running back, he earned NFL Hall of Fame enshrinement. His career moved from Berkeley’s St. Mary’s High School to Arizona State to the 49ers as part of the “Million Dollar Backfield” of Y.A. Tittle, Hugh McElhenny and Joe Perry. Johnson then joined the Detroit Lions 1957 championship team and his career capper, the leading rusher for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1961, 1962, 1963 and 1964. In his 13-year pro career, Johnson totaled 6,803 yards on 1,571 carries and 48 touchdowns.
Inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.
Plaque location: Saint Mary’s College