Former Utes quarterback Brian Johnson, who led the team to its Sugar Bowl-winning season in 2008 and also coached at the University of Utah from 2010-13, has been named the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Houston, the school announced Tuesday.
Johnson, a native of Baytown, Texas, has spent the past three seasons as quarterbacks coach at Mississippi State and will join first-year coach Major Applewhite's staff at Houston.
Following his college career from 2004-08, Johnson joined the Utes' staff in 2010 as the team's quarterbacks coach. Two years later, he added offensive coordinator to his title. In 2014, Johnson left to become the QB coach in SEC country at Mississippi State.
During his time with the Bulldogs, Johnson worked two seasons with four-year starting quarterback Dak Prescott, who threw for 9,736 yards and 70 touchdowns while adding 2,521 yards and 41 touchdown rushing as a Bulldog and twice earned All-America honors and broke 38 school records.
Prescott is now in his rookie season as a pro, where he's a candidate for the NFL MVP award this year, as he's led the Dallas Cowboys to a 13-2 record while throwing for 3,630 yards, 23 touchdowns and four interceptions. He's added 273 rushing yards and six more touchdowns.
“He was unbelievable and I’m very thankful to have him as a coach. Once I got the offense down, he took me to another level and his knowledge of the game was invaluable,” Prescott said of Johnson in a Houston press release. “It meant a lot to have someone who has played at such a high level be able to teach you. You look at the success he had with his undefeated season at Utah and you know he can back up what he is teaching.”
In 2016, Johnson helped sophomore Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald lead the SEC in total offense with 3,798 yards (2,423 passing yards, 1,385 rushing yards).
As a player, Johnson broke the Utes' record for wins by a starting quarterback (26) and twice was named bowl MVP during his playing career. He threw for 336 yards and three touchdowns in Utah's 31-17 win over Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl, as the Utes finished that season 13-0 and No. 2 in the country.
After coaching the quarterbacks at Utah in 2010 and 2011, Johnson became the youngest NCAA FBS offensive coordinator in the country when he took over the position at Utah at the age of 24. He was offensive coordinator for the Utes in 2012 and was co-offensive coordinator along with veteran coach Dennis Erickson in 2013.