NY Jets DE Jermaine Johnson honored by alma mater

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By: Thomas Christopher

Jermaine Johnson honored with All-American brick at FSU’s Legacy Weekend

New York Jets defensive end Jermaine Johnson‘s NFL ceiling may still be a mystery, but nothing can negate the tremendous impact he had at Florida State.

During Florida State’s Legacy Weekend, Johnson was honored with his All-American brick, forever cementing his legacy at the college.

“I can’t put it all into words, I really can’t,” Johnson said upon receiving the honor. “Any time Coach (Norvell) congratulates me on everything I’ve done and accomplished, I always say, ‘Thanks for the opportunity.’ Because that’s all you’ve got is an opportunity.”

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Johnson only played one season at FSU after transferring from Georgia, but his impact was unprecedented. With 12 sacks and 18 TFLs, Johnson received All-American honors and won the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year award in 2021. And despite only playing one season with the Seminoles, Johnson considers it home based on how valuable an experience it was to him.

“This is my true home. It’s funny this is my home, this is where I’ll always say is home, but this is the school that I spent the least amount of time at. It’s not about the time, it’s not about where you go first, it’s not about how you start. It truly is, cliche and corny, about how you finish,” said Johnson. “My year here at Florida State, in my head it holds an amount of value to me that I can’t put into words ever.”

Johnson’s 2021 performance led to him being selected 26th overall by the New York Jets in the 2022 NFL Draft. Johnson showed some flashes in his rookie season, but had inconsistencies you would expect from a rookie. But just as Johnson said, it’s not about how you start, it’s how you finish. And the opportunity to ascend into superstardom could come sooner than later.

When one door closes, another opens

The biggest hurdle for Jermaine Johnson to see playing time is DE Carl Lawson. Lawson has been frequently mentioned as a potential cap casualty for the Jets this offseason. Lawson has a $15.7 million cap hit in 2023, with only $333K in dead money. If the Jets were to cut him, it would save the team $15.4 million.

Cutting Lawson would present a great opportunity for Johnson. It would signal that the coaching staff has a great belief in Johnson’s potential, and it would allow him to earn starter reps on the defense.

From there, the sky’s the limit. And perhaps Johnson could end his NFL career with a Hall of Fame plaque to go along with his All-American brick.

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