Welcome to 2024, where Nick Dunlap won his first PGA tournament, the first year of the new conference realignment, and the Alabama Softball team has two sisters on their roster for the first time. 2024 might just be the year of firsts.  

“I always say there is a first in our program. Well, one of the first this year was to have sisters on the team,” said Alabama Head Coach Patrick Murphy. 

It all started way back when fifth-year senior Jenna Johnson was in just the eighth grade. She was invited to come to a prospect camp at the University of Alabama. The camp, however, didn’t exactly go as she had planned. 

“I actually subluxed my kneecap. Then we go in the training room and they’re assessing me because we didn’t know what had happened at that point,” said Jenna Johnson. “Murphy actually sat in there with me, and he actually signed my knee.”  

After that injury, Jenna Johnson, ‘the lead-off hitter’, stayed in contact with Coach. He kept checking up on her to make sure the knee was healing and kept recruiting her to Tuscaloosa. The leadoff hitter remembers a year later she received a call from Coach.  

“He asked me if I wanted to be a part of the Bama softball family,” said Jenna Johnson. “And I was like absolutely yes.” 

Growing up in Tennessee, which is die-hard Volunteer country, Jenna Johnson was asked by friends and even by her family if she was sure about Alabama, but one step into the land of Roll Tide swayed their opinion.  

“When my family came on campus, they were like ‘1000% yes,’” said Jenna Johnson. “They fell in love with this place, automatically fell in love with Murph and the coaching staff, what Alabama stands for and now they’ve been big-time fans ever since.” 

Fast forward a few years later, Jenna Johnson is now a full-time starter for the softball team, and it is time for little sister Lauren Johnson to make her college decision.  

“You know, he honestly probably didn’t have to do much,” said Jenna Johnson when asked how much Coach Murphy had to recruit little sister Lauren. “I think we (Jenna and her family) sold it to her pretty early and I love this place. It’s something that I would definitely want my sister to be a part of.” 

Jenna Johnson credits the community and family aspect of the program as the main reasons she loves Alabama and why she wanted her sister to come join her. Not only has this program effected Jenna Johnson’s softball career but her whole life. 

“Just the culture here at Alabama is all centered around Mudita which is vicarious joy for other people’s success,” said Jenna Johnson. “It’s really based around servant-based leadership and understanding that the best way to lead is to serve others. So, it’s been something that has impacted me and really drawn me into this place.”  

All these reasons and more were part of the draw that sold not only older sister Jenna Johnson but little sister Lauren Johnson.

“It was really good to have the inside scoop from Jenna and I knew that everything she told me, it was going to be real,” said ‘the freshman’ Lauren Johnson. “And I know he’s (Coach Murphy) going to tell the truth of everything.”  

Coach Murphy remembers the short amount of time it took for Lauren Johnson to make her decision. On her official visit, it took the freshman the amount of time to walk from the clubhouse to the parking lot to decide this is the place she wanted to go. 

“We get on the bus to go to the game (an Alabama football game) and she tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘I want to come here,’” said Murphy. “It’s just a great family and I’m so glad that both of them are here.”  

But the recruiting process is over, and the sisters are now on the team together, so how has it worked out? 

On the practice field, it is the constant competitiveness that hints at, ‘iron sharpens iron.’ Both players mentioned they’re similarities on the field with Jenna Johnson saying, “we always say we’re copy and paste when it comes to a player.” 

Those similarities help to make practice an even more competitive environment. Both sisters play outfield which means they’re both fighting for the same spots on the field. Luckily this past weekend, both were able to start on the field together. After the opening game against Villanova, ‘the freshman’ was placed in the lineup for the first time. 

She went a perfect three for three, but she credits her teammates, especially big sis Jenna Johnson, for helping calm her nerves and letting her know to just have fun. 

“I learned from everyone before me. I had my older sister, of course being the leadoff so she gave me feedback,” said Lauren Johnson. “Just to be playing with them like they’re all my family now, and they really pushed me to do good but not stressed to do good but just to have fun.”  

On the defensive side, both sisters made highlight-reel plays with Jenna Johnson leaping at the wall for a grab and Lauren Johnson a diving snag to steal a hit. 

“Right when that ball was hit, I was like, ‘Oh I'm getting it I’m getting in front of Jenna,’ and all I hear is Jenna like, 'Dive catch it,’ and I was like, ‘Okay I’ll do that,’” said the freshman. “So that was just awesome to make that play in front of Jenna and hear Jenna cheer me on.” 


Lauren Johnson went on to win SEC Freshman of the Week and who else but big sister Jenna Johnson was the first one to see it and congratulate her. 

SEC Freshman of the Week Lauren Johnson Instagram/BamaSB
SEC Freshman of the Week Lauren Johnson Instagram/BamaSB

“It popped up on my phone and I ran into the training room like, ‘sis you just won freshman of the week,’” said Jenna Johnson. “It was just cool to be able to tell her that and share that moment with her and just get to be on the field right next to her watching her succeed all weekend was like one in a million.”  


Another huge part of the Alabama Softball program is Rhoads Stadium, whose season tickets have sold out each of the last three seasons. The sisters will get their first chance to play together on their home turf this weekend. There will be some familiar faces in the stands for these two.  

“The energy it’s unlike any other place I’ve ever been,” said Lauren Johnson. “I’m super excited to hear those voices hear that crowd, especially my parents and grandparents who are going to be here.”  

The sisters and the rest of the Alabama Softball family will try to continue their hot start to the season after going 5-0 at the Buzz City Classic. The Crimson Tide will host St. Thomas, Virginia, and Southern Indiana for the annual Bama Bash this weekend.  

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Gallery Credit: Mary K



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