Miami’s defensive line of the future will not include DJ Johnson.
Johnson, considered the best defensive recruit Miami signed last season, has left the program. UM confirmed the news in a brief press release distributed Tuesday.
“DJ indicated to me that he would like to continue his playing career closer to his family,” coach Mark Richt said in the release.
In a tweet, Johnson said:
“Loved miami, close family members going through severe health issues. Thank you to the miami fan base and staff for embracing me and giving me some great memories and molding me as a better player and growing man. God bless.”
Johnson, a true freshman defensive end from Sacramento, Calif., played in eight games and recorded three tackles in his only season in Coral Gables.
Listed at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, he was a four-star prospect who reportedly had more scholarship offers — 100 — than any recruit in the 2017 class. He chose to play at UM over schools like UCLA, USC, Alabama and numerous others, calling it his “dream school.” He briefly left the team in November for personal reasons.
UM, which loses graduating ends Chad Thomas and Trent Harris, returns junior-to-be Joe Jackson (6.5 sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss), redshirt senior Demetrius Jackson (injured in November; 7.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks in seven games) and sophomore Jonathan Garvin (2.0 sacks, 3.0 TFL, two forced fumbles as a newcomer). Johnson would have been a part of that rotation, which could also include oft-injured former four-star recruit Scott Patchan (who flipped between DE and TE last year).
Johnson’s departure could help create more playing time for 2018 signee Greg Rousseau, a 6-6, 222-pound three-star prospect who will enroll next week, and whomever else UM may add during the signing period that begins Feb. 7.