Jan Johnson contributed to Penn State’s 2015 National Championship Wrestling team, competing at the heavyweight level. As a redshirt freshman in 2016, with multiple injuries at the linebacker position for the Lions, he found his way onto the field early in the season versus Michigan. Johnson suffered a season-ending injury shortly after entering the game.
He played less than one quarter on defense before his season was cut short, and it could be argued that his injury was hastened by horrendous policies enforced by the NCAA. He entered the game when Brandon Smith was ejected from the game on a very soft targeting penalty. The depth at linebacker was already thin due to years of sanctions placed on the program. With injuries and the removal of Smith, Johnson was forced into action. It could be said that he was not ready for the speed of the game. Few players in his situation would have been.
Johnson, like his fellow linebacker Brandon Smith, hopes to become a doctor following his time at Penn State. Like so many other student-athletes, he is as focused in the classroom as he is on the playing field. It’s likely that the only time he will see the field in the future will be on special teams, but his contribution to the program is greatly appreciated.