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A. J. Johnson (linebacker)

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A. J. Johnson
refer to caption
Johnson in the 2019 NFL season.
No. 45 – Denver Broncos
Personal information
Born: (1991-12-24) December 24, 1991 (age 29)
Gainesville, Georgia
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:255 lb (116 kg)
Career information
High school:Gainesville
(Gainesville, Georgia)
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career NFL statistics as of 2019
Total tackles:95
Forced fumbles:2
Fumble recoveries:1
Player stats at NFL.com

Alexander James Johnson (born December 24, 1991) is an American football linebacker for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Tennessee.

Early years[edit source | edit]

Johnson attended and played high school football at Gainesville High School.[1]

College career[edit source | edit]

Johnson attended the University of Tennessee, where he played college football under head coaches Derek Dooley and Butch Jones.[2] Johnson made 138 tackles in 2012 to lead the Southeastern Conference in that category.[3] He made 106 tackles in 2013, and was named First Team All-SEC.[4][5]

He was also named a Freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America in 2011.[6]

Following speculation that he might skip his final year of eligibility to enter the NFL Draft, Johnson announced in January 2014 that he would remain at Tennessee for his senior year.[7] In April 2014, Johnson was named a Strength and Conditioning All-American by the National Strength and Conditioning Association.[8]

Suspension[edit source | edit]

On November 18, 2014, Johnson was suspended from the University of Tennessee after he was accused of rape.[9] Two days prior, Johnson threw a party at his apartment. A woman, who was visiting out of state, stated she had previously had two sexual encounters with Johnson. She alleged that she was shocked when Johnson immediately began having sex with her after entering his bedroom. She then alleges that Johnson's fellow teammate Michael Williams joined and began raping her alongside Johnson.[10] On February 12, 2015, Johnson and Williams were both officially indicted on two counts of aggravated rape by a grand jury.[11]

On July 27, 2018, Johnson and Williams were acquitted of all charges.[12]

Professional career[edit source | edit]

Johnson initially received an invitation to attend the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine. On February 13, 2015, it was reported that the NFL had officially rescinded Johnson's invitation to the NFL Combine after he was indicted on two counts of aggravated rape the day prior.[13] Johnson was projected to be a third or fourth round pick by the majority of NFL draft experts before he was accused of rape.

2018[edit source | edit]

Johnson signed with the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent on August 13, 2018 after being acquitted of his rape charges.[14] He made the Broncos 53-man roster, only playing in one game through 11 weeks before being waived on November 29, 2018.[15] After clearing waivers, he was re-signed to the Broncos practice squad. He signed a reserve/future contract with the Broncos on January 2, 2019.[16]

2019[edit source | edit]

In Week 5, against the Los Angeles Chargers, Johnson made his first career start. He intercepted a pass from Philip Rivers in the end zone as the Broncos won 20-13.[17] In Week 6, against the Tennessee Titans, he made 9 total tackles with 1.5 sacks and 1 tackle for loss as the Broncos won 16-0.[18] In Week 9 against the Cleveland Browns, Johnson recorded a team-high 13 tackles in the 24-19 win.[19] Johnson finished 2019 as Pro Football Focus's #4 rated linebacker and #46 player in the whole NFL, a ranking that PFF wrote would have been "much higher" if he had started the entire season.[20]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. "A.J. Johnson, Gainesville , Weak-Side Defensive End". 247Sports. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  2. "A.J. Johnson College Stats". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  3. "Tennessee LB A.J. Johnson responds to coach's request that he emerge as defense's 'alpha male'". Fox Sports. Associated Press. August 16, 2013. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  4. "A.J. Johnson - Football". University of Tennessee Athletics. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  5. Woodbery, Evan. "Linebacker A.J. Johnson is only UT player on All-SEC first team »". GoVolsXtra. Archived from the original on January 31, 2014. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  6. "FWAA names 2011 Freshman All-America Team". FWAA. January 9, 2012. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  7. Brown, Patrick. "Linebacker A.J. Johnson staying with Tennessee Vols". timesfreepress.com. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  8. "Johnson & Neal Named NSCA All-Americans". University of Tennessee Athletics. Archived from the original on April 29, 2014. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  9. "UT suspends A.J. Johnson, Michael Williams from team". The Tennessean. November 17, 2014. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  10. "Ex-Vols A.J. Johnson, Michael Williams acquitted on rape charges". espn.com. July 27, 2018. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  11. Chase Goodbread (February 12, 2015). "Ex-Tennessee LB A.J. Johnson indicted on two counts of rape". NFL.com. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  12. "Ex-Vols A.J. Johnson, Michael Williams acquitted on rape charges". espn.com. Associated Press. July 28, 2018.
  13. "A.J. Johnson has NFL Scouting Combine invite revoked". NFL.com. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  14. "Broncos sign LB A.J. Johnson, release LB Stansly Maponga". DenverBroncos.com. August 13, 2018. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  15. "Broncos release A.J. Johnson, call up Jeff Holland from practice squad". MileHighSports.com. November 29, 2018. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  16. Swanson, Ben (January 2, 2019). "Broncos sign 10 players to future contracts". DenverBroncos.com. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  17. "Lindsay helps give Broncos' Fangio first win as coach". espn.com. Associated Press. October 6, 2019. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  18. "Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos - October 13th, 2019". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  19. "Allen leads Broncos past Browns 24-19 in first NFL start". www.espn.com. Associated Press. November 3, 2019. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  20. Monson, Sam (February 6, 2020). "The top 101 players from the 2019 NFL season". Pro Football Focus.

External links[edit source | edit]

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