It’s the sweetest five words any walk-on can hear- “You are now on scholarship.” Starting middle linebacker Jan Johnson recently heard those words, adding to an already-inspiring story for the Mohnton, Pa. native.
Can confirm PSU put starting middle LB Jan Johnson on scholarship. You know the story: Walked on, wrestled, ACL injury at The Big House, works way back and wins starting job.— Audrey Snyder (@audsnyder4) October 19, 2018
Johnson was born with blue and white blood pumping through his veins, coming from a large family of Penn Staters. His father and uncle both wrestled as undergraduates at Penn State, while his mother and aunt were part of the Nittany Lions Swim Team.
Johnson had initially accepted an offer from Akron before having a change of heart to walk-on at Penn State. He also joined the wrestling team, and ended up starting for a portion of the 2015 season at heavyweight.
In 2016, he worked his way on the football field after a slew of injuries at linebacker. Unfortunately, Johnson himself would be added to the injured list after tearing his ACL against Michigan in his first-ever game. Johnson recovered, and eventually took over the starting MIKE spot from Jason Cabinda, who is now with the Oakland Raiders.
Johnson is currently the team leader in tackles, with 34 on the season. He also had an interception in week four at Illinois.