He was born as Inquoris Desmond Chade Johnson and his goal in life was to play football for the University of Tennessee and go to the NFL, but his career was cut short by a serious injury against Air Force in 2006.
Inky, known throughout his career, was the guest speaker at the University of Tennessee Alumni Association's meeting at Cumberland Mountain State Park last Thursday night.
Johnson is working with underprivileged youth through the Emerald Youth Program in Knoxville and Atlanta, but took time off to enlighten the alumni on his career.
"The yard sale was pretty impressive," said Johnson, who had avoided the 127 Corridor Sale venders to get to the park for the dinner.
He grew up in Kirkwood, GA, but had a dream to go to the NFL. He played recreational league football until high school.
"I would get up at 5:30 a.m. and run miles and miles with my father," said Johnson who attend Crim High School under Coach Darren Myles. He transfered to Tucker High School and then returned to Crim.
During high school, then UT assistant coach Pat Washington visited Inky and said then UT head coach Phillip Fulmer was coming to offer Inky a scholarship.
"I soaked up the moment. I worked twice as hard to get to Tennessee. I thanked God for this moment. This was what I had been working for for seven years," he said. "I told my grandmother and mom I was going to graduate from UT in three years and enter the NFL draft."
He played in 10 games his freshman year and 11 games his sophomore, but suffered the serious injury making a tackle against Air Force his junior year.
"My whole life flashed before my eyes," said Johnson, who suffered a busted artery and nerve damage in his shoulder. He went to Mayo Clinic for advice and more surgery, but his career was over.
"I put my life on line at Tennessee. I did it with pride. The road I went down was rough. It was an honor to play for Tennessee," he added. "Thank you and God bless."
Johnson signed autographed his book, "Inky: An Amazing Story of Faith and Perseverance," for the alumni in attendance.
Johnson will be a special guest at the Bubba Fest later this month at the First United Methodist Church.