7/23/2014 6:00:00 AM Johnson ready to return to Ole Miss
By STEVE SWOGETINSKY Sports Editor
Former Philadelphia Tornado C.J. Johnson says he is ready to get back to football after missing most of the 2013 season at Ole Miss due to injury.
"I broke my ankle in March before the season," Johnson said. "I played four games but I knew after the first game (vs. Vanderbilt) I wasn't right. After the fourth game, I told the coaches I probably needed more surgery on my ankle."
Johnson had reconstructive surgery. Even though he played in four games at defensive end, the NCAA granted him a medical red shirt which means he still has two seasons to play at Ole Miss, if he wants to. When asked if the lure of the NFL might draw him to skip that last year after the 2014 season, Johnson replied, "I can't answer that now."
"I'm looking to have a big year," Johnson said. "It depends on what kind of season I have."
But since having the surgery, Johnson said his goal has been to get well and to get back on the field. If all goes well, that will be August 28 when Ole Miss takes on Boise State at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
"Rehab, rehab, rehab," Johnson said. "That's all I have been doing. I used the time off to study the game and learn new techniques. I'm just trying to get better."
Johnson represented Ole Miss at the SEC Media Day last week at Hoover, Ala. Johnson said that the Ole Miss Rebels are getting better and looks for them to be more competitive in the Southeastern Conference's West Division.
"The West division is one of the toughest in college football," Johnson said. "But we have more quality depth this year, especially on defense. And that's what it is going to take.
"To compete, you have to have people ready to step up and play and be able to compete against Alabama, LSU, Auburn and that type of competition. We are getting there."
Johnson is looking to get back to the playing level of his sophomore season and more when he was a sophomore All-America honorable mention. He played in every game at defensive end with 10 starts. He led the team with 6.5 sacks and was tied for eighth in SEC with 0.5 sacks/game.
"When he's well, he is as good as anyone in the SEC," Philadelphia Coach Teddy Dyess said. "In the games he did play last year, you could tell something was the matter."
Johnson is majoring in criminal justice at Ole Miss. But when his football coaching days are over, he hopes to become a football coach.
"That's what I really want to do," Johnson said. "I don't know where or on what level. But that's what I want to do."