Juwan Johnson is a name that has come up repeatedly over the past two years. Making up one half of the “twin towers,” Johnson has the height to become a favorite target of Trace McSorley’s in the upcoming 2017 season, and as he showed in the Blue and White game, he has the speed and the hands too.
Johnson redshirted his first season in the program, a move that allowed him to acclimate to college life without having to compete for a spot on the roster. With the logjam at receiver in 2015, it was likely the right move. He then spent 2016 playing mostly on special teams, seeing action on offense in a few games.
Now that Chris Godwin is onto bigger and better things, it will be Johnson’s turn to have the “out of nowhere” season that has become a staple of Penn State football for the past five years. His height and speed put him in great position to succeed from the get go, but it’s his work ethic and focus on the details that will allow him to have the season most expect him to.
All throughout spring practice, the chatter surrounding Johnson has been about his time in the weight room, his focus on doing he little things (when asked what his favorite play of the spring was, Johnson didn’t hesitate to mention a block that allowed McSorley to turn a big play into a bigger play), and his meticulous study of the game. All these are habits he picked up from his mentor, Godwin himself.
Speaking of Godwin, the biggest contributor of all in Johnson’s potential comes in having been his backup for the past two years. Johnson has been learning from the top performer at Penn State in the past two seasons, and is now ready to put everything he’s absorbed over that time to use on offense. In Johnson’s own words, one of the biggest lessons he learned from Godwin was having the resiliency to do what’s necessary for the team above all, whether it’s making a big play himself or getting the block that allows another player to make the big play.
Johnson’s combination of measurables and intangibles will be on full display this upcoming season. Having had the opportunity to learn the game during his time in special teams, while also learning from one of the top receivers in the Big Ten during his tenure, Johnson is primed to put all his hard work on display when the season finally approaches.