Kevin Johnson grew into the corner he is today

HOUSTON -- Kevin Johnson's father, Kevin Johnson Sr., was a multi-sport athlete in high school -- he played basketball, he wrestled, he ran track. He never played football, though. That game was all his son's.

"He had a lot more courage," Kevin Sr. said, "to play at 125 pounds."

As he grew in high school and college, both in height and frame, his athleticism, toughness and physicality became more important hallmarks of his football style than his size. Texans coach Bill O'Brien bristled on Friday when a question arose related to the size of the corner who is a lanky six feet tall and 188 pounds. As he and many around Johnson see it, the size issue really isn't one.

"What people are worried about size?" O'Brien said. "I don’t know. I always wonder about that. You watch the tape, you watch the guy play football on tape, and I think he’s a very competitive football player and, like I said last night, we’re really happy as a coaching staff to have this guy in our secondary."

Johnson's size is close to that of his new teammates. He joins a secondary that includes two starting corners in Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson, who are also listed at 188 pounds, though Joseph is an inch shorter than Johnson, and Jackson is two inches shorter. A.J. Bouye, the Texans' third corner last season is listed at 6-feet, 191 pounds.

Johnson was always a small kid, one who'd ask his mother, Judy, why all his friends were bigger than him. She put him on "older but lighter" little league football teams and was more comfortable with him playing with kids his own size. He was only 5 feet tall and less than 100 pounds as a freshman in high school. He grew in high school, but the real growth came at Wake Forest.

"A lot of times skill position guys don’t push themselves in the weight room," said Jim Grobe, his head coach at Wake Forest. "He worked to get stronger and more physical. That was the only thing we thought he lacked when he got to Wake Forest … he actually became a physical corner."

Said Johnson: "I think I’m a corner that I don’t mind contact. I’m just going to go out there and be competitive."

Though his size wasn't a problem on the field, it became a subject of discussion prior to the draft by analysts concerned about his frame and lanky build.

The stories expressing such concerns popped up in the dozens of daily Google searches Judy did of her son's name. Johnson never wanted to hear about any of it, but Judy avoided certain stories in particular.

"Anything that spoke about his weight, which I didn’t feel was an issue," she said.

He's worked to make sure it won't be.