Iowa State has had some pretty good defensive backs during the history of its football program, but the best one in recent memory is not very hard to dispute. Leonard Johnson became one of the Cyclones’ top cover guys this century during his career spanning from 2008 to 2011.

Johnson record 247 tackles, eight of them for a loss, intercepted six passes, forced six fumbles and recovered eight fumbles during his four seasons in Ames. The Clearwater, Fla. native was a two-time All-Big 12 selection and was the Al and Dean Knudson Award (given to Iowa State’s best defensive player) winner in 2011.

Johnson’s most memorable moment was his third quarter interception in the Cyclones’ upset win over No. 2 Oklahoma State in 2011. He held two-time Biletnikoff Award winner Justin Blackmon to 99 yards receiving in the game.

Johnson has gone on to record 189 tackles and five interceptions with three different teams in the National Football League. He signed with the Buffalo Bills as a free agent in March.

Jared Stansbury


Jared is in his fifth year covering Iowa State football and basketball for Cyclone Fanatic. He's the site's lead reporter for ISU recruiting. He worked as the site's intern for three years while studying Journalism in Iowa State's Greenlee School of Journalism. He started as the full-time staff writer in May 2016. Jared has spent five falls covering Iowa high school football as a reporter for KMA Radio, 1460 KXNO and 1430 KASI. He's the sideline reporter for KASI's Ames High football broadcasts and has appeared frequently on the station's baseball broadcasts during the summer.

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