After leaving Nevada, STM product joins UL football team

Tim Buckley
The Daily Advertiser

Defensive back Kendall Johnson Jr. suggested via Twitter on Friday that he has joined the UL football team.

St. Thomas More product Kendall Johnson Jr., who played three seasons at Nevada, is joining the UL football team.

Johnson, a St. Thomas More High product, played extensively at Nevada starting with his true freshman season in 2014.

He started two games that year, then started 24 of the 25 games in which he played as a sophomore and junior — mostly at cornerback, plus three game at safety — for the Wolf Pack in 2015-16.

But Johnson quit the Mountain West Conference team last September, after — according to the Reno Gazette Journal — he dropped on the depth chart and did not play in Nevada’s season-opener against Northwestern.

That's despite the fact he earned preseason All-Mountain West recognition from Athlon Sports in sports, and his own Nevada football bio heading into last season said he was "projected to be one of the Pack's top cornerbacks in 2017." 

“Kendall is no longer on the team. He decided to retire,” Nevada coach Jay Norvell told the Gazette Journal at the time.

Johnson had one interception and 23 tackles in 12 games as a freshman, 48 tackles in 13 games as a sophomore and 31 tackles with a forced fumble in 12 games as a junior.

He was with the Wolf Pack for both its New Orleans Bowl loss to UL in 2014 and its Arizona Bowl win over Colorado State in 2015, a game in which he made four tackles.

At St. Thomas More, Johnson caught 60 passes for more than 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior and senior and had a combined eight interceptions over those seasons as well.

On Friday a UL spokesman said it could not yet confirm the addition.

But it’s believed Johnson is coming to UL as a graduate transfer and will be eligible to play right away in 2018, which will be the only season of eligibility he will have as a Cajun.

On Friday, he retweeted a new UL teammate's tweet that he "found out" Thursday "i get to play with (Johnson) this year."

The Cajuns have lost both of their top-two cornerbacks with the most starts at that position last season, seniors Simeon Thomas and Levarious Varnado, along with longtime starting safety Tracy Walker, a senior who has been picked to play in the upcoming East-West Shrine Game.

And Damar'ren Mitchell, who started at both UL's slash position and at cornerback for the Cajuns as s sophomore in 2017, has requested his release from the program. 

But UL is expected to return safety Travis Crawford, who missed most of what would have been his senior season in 2017 due to an injury.