Another former Wave makes it to the NFL

Johnson, seated, with family, friends and supporters at a send off for him in May when he was about to report to the Jaguars.
Steve Rogers
Staff Writer

Another former West Point High School football player has made it to the NFL.

Lyndon Baines Johnson Jr., a 2013 graduate of West Point, was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars in April as an undrafted free agent after spending three years at Cincinnati and two years at Holmes Community College.

After getting some notice playing in preseason games against the Saints, Vikings, Falcons and Buccaneers, Johnson was cut by the Jaguars at the end of the preseason but the team thought enough of him to resign him to the practice squad on Sept. 2.

He continued there, posing as other teams while improving his skills. The 24-year-old Johnson was promoted to the Jaguars’ active roster on Dec. 14 and made his NFL debut on Dec. 16 in a 16–13 loss to the Washington Redskins.

“We are so proud of him, it’s exciting,” his mother, Mary Johnson, said of her son. “It shows how hard work can pay off. He’s always believed he could make it.”

Johnson, whose name catches more than a little attention since it mirrors that of a former U.S. President, always has attracted attention on the field.

At 6-5 and 287 pounds, he was a force along the defensive line as a member of the Green Wave, at Holmes and at Cincinnati where he overcame injuries to continue his career.

At Holmes, he had 30 tackles with six sacks and nine tackles for a loss his senior year on the way to first-team All-State honors. He got a nudge toward Cincinnati because one of his coaches at Holmes was Jeff Koonz, father of a former Bearcat linebacker coach.

Johnson played in 26 games at defensive tackle for the Bearcats in his final two seasons of eligibility and recorded 31 tackles, four tackles for a loss, three sacks and one forced fumble. He was hurt early in his original senior season and gained another year of eligibility.

As for the Lyndon Baines Johnson Jr.? Johnson was named for his father, who was Lyndon Baines Johnson Sr., who was named after the LBJ who was president when he was born.