Daryl Johnston

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Cowboys, Syracuse & Lew-Port Star FB

Winners lead and leaders win – in life and in sports – and among the athletic elite arguably the best to personify this axiom was Youngstown native Daryl Johnston. Whether on or off the field, Johnston let his work and results speak for themselves…and they spoke volumes.

As a standout tailback on the Lewiston-Porter High School football team, Daryl was named Western New York Player of the Year in 1984; that year, as a senior, his team won their division. Having led his team, Daryl also was among the leaders of the student body, as one of four graduates in his class of 290 students with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Torn between Cornell and Syracuse, Johnston, with scholarship in hand and advice from his father, chose the Orange. It was a decision he would not regret.

As a redshirted freshman, Johnston played on special teams and learned from his early experiences, building a foundation for future success. He earned the starting fullback position his sophomore year, 1986, and before he graduated with a degree in economics in 1989, Johnston was named All-Big East and an All-American, rushed for 1,830 yards and caught 46 passes. His collegiate career over, he entered the 1989 NFL draft and was selected in the second round as the 39th overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys and, rare as it is in professional sports, played his entire 11 year professional football career in Dallas.

Nicknamed “Moose” in his rookie year by former teammate Babe Laufenberg, the 6-2 and 242-pound back earned the starting fullback slot in 1991 and became a fan favorite not only in Dallas but in most playing venues. In his career, he scored 22 touchdowns, rushed for 753 yards and caught 294 passes for more than 2,200 yards – third highest reception total among Cowboy running backs. As a Cowboy, Johnston was a true Iron Man, playing in 149 consecutive games from 1989-97, was selected to two Pro Bowls – the first prototype fullback named to the 1994 squad – and won three Super Bowl rings. Perhaps more than statistics can measure, Johnston was known, and remains regarded, as one of the best power blocking backs in the history of the game and lead blocker for Hall of Fame and all-time NFL rushing leader Emmitt Smith. Daryl Johnston, a leader by any measure.