Calvin Johnson forever has his place in NFL history. His place at Georgia Tech is secure, too.
One of the greatest players in school history, Johnson's retirement announcement Tuesday also reverberated to Atlanta, where his college career was on "beast mode" right from the start.
— Paul Johnson (@GTPaulJohnson) March 8, 2016
In his freshman season in 2004, Johnson was a first-team All-ACC selection -- just the second true freshman in school history to win such an honor. He was 2004 ACC Rookie of the Year and 2006 ACC Player of the Year. He was big. He was fast. He was, and still is, an athletic freak (4.4 40-yard dash with a 45-inch vertical leap).
For a refresher on his collegiate greatness, here is a quick look at Johnson by the numbers.
1: Biletnikoff Award, 2006
2: First-team All-America honors
3: First-team All-ACC, first Georgia Tech player to be honored three times
10: Finished 10th in Heisman balloting, 2006
13: 100-yard receiving games, school record
28: Career touchdown receptions, third in school history
178: Career receptions, second in school history
2,927: Career receiving yards, school record
At every level, Johnson has exceeded the hype -- an incredibly rare accomplishment given the outsized expectations that preceded him. Out of high school, he was rated among the top 10 receivers in the country. He showed why immediately, leading the Jackets in receiving with 48 catches for 837 yards, all school freshmen records. And he served notice in the third game he ever played, when Georgia Tech faced No. 20 Clemson in Death Valley -- the first of many highlights to come.
Johnson scored three touchdowns to key a come-from-behind 28-24 win. Two came in the final 1:50, including an 11-yard scoring reception down the sideline with 11 seconds to go. Afterward, Johnson said, "I knew if they got it to me, I could catch it."
That epitomized his entire football career. Johnson left school after his junior season and went No. 2 overall to Detroit in 2007 and enjoyed a remarkable career that will most likely end at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in five years.
But before then, there could very well be more Georgia Tech in his future.
Johnson has said he wants to finish his degree, telling ESPN.com in January, "I’ve been thinking about it my whole career. It’s just, while I’m playing, it’s not really a great time for me to do it.”
He also is eligible to become an ACC Legend in 2016. His inclusion in that group should be a slam dunk. If it is, Johnson will be in Charlotte, North Carolina, in December before the ACC championship game, repping Georgia Tech once again.