Former Vol linebacker, A.J. Johnson was acquitted in rape trial after three years of waiting. There were no winners, but Johnson was a big loser in the case.
Former Tennessee Football player A.J. Johnson is officially a free man. He and former teammate Michael Williams were found not guilty of rape from 2014.
Now, just because the two players were found not guilty, it does not mean they are innocent. There are only a few people in the world that know the truth.
However, that isn’t the reason for this post. We want to have a different spin on the situation and remember just how good A.J. Johnson was for the Vols. There has been a lot of negative talk surrounding this situation, so we want to try to shed a positive light for Johnson.
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He was a four-star recruit from Gainesville, GA in the 2011 class. According to 247Sports Composite, Johnson was ranked as the No. 122 player in the nation and No. 11 best player from Georgia.
Unfortunately for Johnson, he played under two of the worst coaches in Tennessee history. However, that didn’t stop him from having a decent career for the Vols. By the time he was a junior Johnson was looked upon as a team leader. He was one of the best defenders on the team.
Johnson came in as a freshman and played right away. And, he was a difference maker. If it weren’t for the rape charge, he would have played over 12 games all four years.
In his freshman season, Johnson only registered only 80 tackles. I say only, but accounting for 80 tackles is actually a decent season. That was the only season that he didn’t have at least 100 tackles.
His best season came in 2012 where Johnson registered 63 solo and 75 assisted for a total of 138 tackles for the season. He combined for over 400 tackles which put him on a list of only four players to do so. Throughout his career, he forced three fumbles and recovered three of them.
It is unfortunate that Johnson was kicked off the team and lost his chance at the NFL. His NFL Scouting Combine was revoked and never had an opportunity as a free agent.
Hopefully, Johnson will be remembered as a great player for the Volunteers instead of this case.