His success as a quarterback started at Mountain View High School when he led the Spartans to back-to-back Santa Clara League championships and he received Outstanding Offensive Player of the Year. He also led the baseball team to a 1989 Santa Clara Valley Athletic League Baseball championship victory.
He went on to Foothill Junior College where he earned First Team All-Conference in 1989 (the other QB was Jeff Garcia). As a sophomore, he broke the national community college career passing yardage record by throwing for 5,925 yards in his two seasons. He was named MVP of the Lions Bowl game and rated the top-ranked junior college player. Region 1 California All-State selection, Coast Conference North Division Offensive Player of the Year, named to the 1990 All-America Community College team. He was honored as the 1991 Times-Tribune Male Athlete of the Year, and 1991 Athlete of the Year for the Greater San Jose Sports Association Awards.
After junior college, he chose to finish his college career at Portland State University, where he broke the single-game yardage mark by throwing for 592 yards and 8 touchdowns in 3 quarters against Cal Poly, after he took over in the 5th game of the season. He finished the season ranked second in passing efficiency with 61 percent, 201 of 331 for 3,527 yards, and 41 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions. As a senior, he led the nation in total offense averaging 338 yards, completed 194 of 281 for a school-record 69 percent, 2944 yards, 24 touchdowns, and only 8 interceptions to rank second in the nation in passing efficiency with a 181.3 rating for the second straight season. For which, he was named Western Conference best player two years consecutively.
John was the first player in Western Conference history to be named player of the week four times in one season, three weeks in a row, seven times in two seasons. He was named Sports Illustrated national player of the week in 1991, named national player of the week twice in 1992 with USA Today and Sports Illustrated, honored by NCAA for winning total offense national title in 1992, passed for three touchdowns or more in 17 of 18 starts the past two seasons, three or more touchdowns in every game. He was also an Oregon Banquet of Champions finalist two years in a row, finalist for the prestigious Harlon Hill Award (Division II’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy).
Despite wrist injury and 8 games, he finished third in balloting with 106 points and 13 first place votes. He completed a perfect sweep of NCAA All-America First Teams by being selected to the USA Today All-America Team, Kodak/American Football Coaches Association, and the Associated Press All-America Teams. He was one of five National Jefferson Award winners for Public Service in 1993. Winners receive a Bronze medallion from the Franklin Mint in Washington, D.C. and also published with the American Institute for Public Service in Washington, D.C.
In 1993, John entered the NFL as a free agent with the Atlanta Falcons. In 1996, he played one season for the Arena Football League’s San Jose SaberCats until a shoulder injury forced him to retire. Over the last 25 years, John has trained with Raymond Ferris (Trainer), Jerry Rice, Roger Craig, Barry Sanders, Ricky Waters, Jaime Williams, Greg Baty, Glen Milburn, Darrien Gordon, Kenyan Branscomb, James Hundon, Sam Adams, and Barry Bonds. Our Hill (“The Hill”) workouts were known as the toughest in America. His knowledge of football combined with the personal relationships he developed as a player and coach will provide his students a greater chance of getting to the next level.
In 2013, John joined The Elite 11 and The Opening as a coach.