It seems like every year in college football, there is a breakout team and usually a breakout senior on that team whose pro prospects change suddenly for the good.
Enter Lonnie Johnson.
In a recent article by Nick Roush of Kentucky Sports Radio, the senior had a breakout Senior Bowl against some of the best seniors across the country, and after stealing the spotlight, Johnson has serious aspirations about his draft stock and where he could hear his name called in Nashville.
“I pretty much know I’m going to go in the first round at this point, based off what I did down there and showed football talent-wise,” Johnson said. “I’ve been hearing a lot of first round talk. But it’s still talk until somebody pulls the trigger in the first round. Then I’ll believe it.”
Johnson was dominant all week long in Mobile, and it is his combination of size, athleticism, and talent that got him in the door with NFL personnel. But it was his sit-down interviews with them that raised his stock to such a lofty level.
Johnson’s winding road to the NFL Draft is essentially a tour of America. After his high school career in Gary, Indiana, Johnson signed initially with Ohio State. After failing to academically qualify, he attended junior college in San Bernardino, California, transferred to Garden City C.C. in Kansas, and sat out of football for an entire year to focus on becoming academically eligible. Needless to say this took its toll on Johnson, but he stayed on the path, and it’s finally paying off in a big way.
In two years at Kentucky, he recorded 64 tackles, three tackles for losses, a sack, a forced fumble and a huge interception to help seal Kentucky’s Citrus Bowl victory over Penn State on New Year’s Day.