Inky Johnson (07, ’09)

Category: Alumni Promise | Awards

For Inquoris “Inky” D. Johnson, a single play during a September 9, 2006, football game changed everything. A routine tackle turned into a life-threatening injury, and nothing has been normal for Johnson since. Not with a paralyzed right arm. Not with daily pain. Not with constant physical challenges.

Johnson worked his way to UT, from a poor and violent area of Atlanta with the goal of playing professional sports. His injury could have destroyed his motivation and crushed his spirit. Instead, Johnson became a person who looks in the face of defeat and asks, “Am I really failing, or is God prevailing?” He became gripped by the promise that God has purposes and plans far beyond our own.

He graduated with a BA in political science from the College of Arts and Sciences in 2007 and an MA in sport psychology in 2009 from the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. And through his relentless determination, he has imparted the lessons of his story to countless audiences as an inspiring motivational speaker.

Johnson has spoken to executives at Fortune 500 companies, hundreds of churches, universities, and professional conferences. His book, Inky Johnson: An Amazing Story of Faith and Perseverance tells the story of his path to become a speaker. Whether the topic is leadership, teamwork, or perseverance, Johnson inspires his audiences to embrace the challenges of life.

He devotes much of his time to mentoring athletes and underprivileged youth.

Johnson was named in 2013 as an SEC Legend, won the Pat Summitt Ignite Greatness Award given by the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame, and the 2011 Borderbowl Iron Man Award. He served as the keynote speaker at the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

He and his wife, Allison, live in Atlanta with their children, Jada and Inky Jr.
Inky Johnson
2015 Alumni Promise Award Winner