Micah Johnson learns from wake-up call

Micah Johnson knows it was his own fault he was suspended for the start of spring practice because of academic concerns coach Rich Brooks had about him. "It was a real wake-up call for me. I just had my priorities out of order," said Johnson, a sophomore linebacker. "I was more focused on the football aspect of being here and not the school aspect."

"Coach Brooks noticed things slipping and he figured to stop all that right now and make me focus on my grades so I wouldn't dig myself in a hole that I could not recover by next season. I respect him for what he did, and I think I needed that to open my eyes and get me back on track."

His older brother, Christian, was also suspended from spring practice by Brooks for academic reasons. However, Christian Johnson, a starting offensive guard, remains suspended and will not play in Saturday's Blue-White game. Now it is Micah Johnson trying to help keep his older brother encouraged, the opposite roles they had during Micah Johnson's freshman season.

"I am just talking to him and telling him to do whatever coach is asking and telling him. He understands that, and knows this is something he just has to deal with. He is upset because he wants to be out here with the team, but school is coming first right now," Micah Johnson said. "Not being out here this spring is not going to kill him. He can still come back and help the team. I think he has to get academics in order. But he will be fine."

No doubt he will be back in good standing in the fall?

"He will be back. Grades were not the issue. GPA is not an issue. It is just attending tutoring sessions and tending to little things like that. Being late to class and things like that is what gets Coach upset. Christian knows that."

But there was one other aspect of the suspensions that was no fun for either Johnson — telling their parents what had happened.

"I didn't want to talk to my father. I didn't want to call and let him know, but I figured I better let him know before he read it in the newspapers or something like that," Micah Johnson said. "It was tough. He was very disappointed. My mom was disappointed. I was, too.

"I was embarrassed. It was the first time I had a negative thing about myself in the newspapers. Both me and my brother. It was an embarrassment for my family in Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky. That's really all I can say. I just got my act together and made it back out here. I've learned my lesson. This won't happen to me again."

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