Georgia outside linebacker seeking transfer

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Georgia outside linebacker seeking transfer

Georgia outside linebacker Jermaine Johnson (11) during the Bulldogs’ practice session in Athens, Ga., on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Georgia outside linebacker Jermaine Johnson (11) during the Bulldogs’ practice session in Athens, Ga., on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020. (Photo by Tony Walsh)

Georgia senior outside linebacker Jermaine Johnson is seeking a transfer and is entering the NCAA’s Student-Athlete transfer portal. The former JUCO prospect came from Independence Community College, where he was featured on Netflix’s Last Chance U in season four under head coach Jason Brown.

Johnson currently is a senior and can choose to return to play one more year in college due to the NCAA’s rule about the 2020 season not counting against player’s eligibility. With him choosing to enter the portal, it is assumed that he will stay one more season in college before possibly entering his name in the NFL Draft.

During the 2019 season, Johnson was still getting adjusted to the Division I level, although this year he’s played a more featured role in Georgia’s defensive scheme. The Minnesota native has played in seven of nine games and has recorded 16 total tackles, five tackles for loss, and four sacks. Johnson currently ranks second on the team in sacks; for which he had a four-game streak with at least one leading up to Georgia’s matchup against Missouri this past weekend.

He signed with UGA in 2019 and was the country’s No. 1 ranked junior college prospect as well as the nation’s top weak-side defensive end, according to the 247Sports Composite. Johnson arrived in Athens in January of 2019, although he suffered an injury that kept him out of spring drills.

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Johnson finished last season with 20 total stops in 14 games, alongside three tackles for loss, seven quarterback pressures and 2.5 sacks. He has split time over the last year and a half with fellow outside linebackers Nolan Smith and Azeez Ojulari. All three players are equally as talented and playing time might have led to Johnson’s decision to enter his name into the portal.

Just because Johnson has entered his name in the portal also doesn’t mean he’s actually guaranteed to leave. But it does mean that he can start talking to other coaches from different universities and can ultimately make a decision from there.

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart noted earlier in the season of how valuable Johnson is to the program.

“Anytime you go through the junior college ranks, you want to get a phenomenal player that can impact your team immediately,” Smart said. “He had an injury early in camp when he first got here. He had a high ankle sprain, and it really slowed him down in terms of developing and getting better. He has a lot of natural talents. He’s extremely athletic, fast. He plays the sand backer position really well. The fact that he can set edges and play man-to-man and rush the passer.”

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Currently an intern for BI, and a junior journalism major at the University of Georgia.