Starting middle linebacker Jan Johnson has been put on scholarship per Penn State’s official walk-on Twitter account. The junior linebacker has started all six games at middle linebacker for the Nittany Lions this season. Johnson leads Penn State with 34 tackles on the season and got his first career interception against Illinois.
Penn State Graduate
Starting Middle Linebacker
Member of the Book Loan Program
— PSU Walk-On U (@PSU_WalkOns) October 19, 2018
Walk-ons being awarded scholarships is nothing new, but Johnson’s story is unlike any other. At Governor Mifflin High School, he was a two-time PIAA wrestling state champion. Johnson was recruited out of high school for football by former Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead when he was the head coach at Fordham. Johnson was also offered a scholarship by Akron which he initially accepted. Johnson eventually followed his heart and chose to walk-on for the Nittany Lions.
During Johnson’s freshman season, Penn State wrestling Cael Sanderson approached head coach James Franklin after heavyweight wrestler Nick Nevills suffered an injury. Johnson joined the wrestling team for the remainder of the 2015 season that ultimately won the National Championship. Johnson rejoined the football team in 2016 and made his debut against Michigan. After making his first two career tackles, Johnson tore his ACL, ending his season. In 2017, Johnson appeared in six games and recorded twelve tackles.
Johnson was named Academic All-Big Ten in 2017 and graduated this past August with a degree in psychology. Roar Lions Roar congratulates Johnson on this well-deserved honor.