Johnson had all the tools to be an outstanding football player, including speed, size, and toughness. He was a linebacker as a freshman in 1973. He moved to the varsity team in 1974, where he was in a linebacker slot behind Ray Marshall and Bill Robb. Johnson was red-shirted in 1974. In 1975, Lester was moved to left defensive tackle, behind Chuck Smith and Robin Meeley. He moved to middle guard in the Peach Bowl in 1975. In 1976, Lester was the number two middle guard behind Joe Jelich. He played in 10 games in 1976, missing only the Villanova game. He had 21 total tackles and two quarterback sacks. Lester majored in Physical Education. He earned all-state, all-country and all-conference honors at Wallhalla High School.