New direction for Johnson

After months of back-and-forth with the NCAA, four-star defensive tackle Mickey Johnson plans to enroll at LSU in January.

2011 LSU signee Mickey Johnson knew he would have some work to do in the classroom, but the Covington, La. native figured that the summer months would provide enough of a buffer period to meet the NCAA’s requirements.

“At the end of my senior year I did a credit recovery program that I thought would get me cleared, and in case it didn’t I also took a summer school course,” Johnson said. “We sent over 500 pages of documents stating what we had done, and from there it was in the NCAA’s hands.”

On Tuesday, after months of back-and-forth with the NCAA, Johnson’s situation gained a bit of clarity.

“Today was the last day that I could have been cleared, so I have accepted the fact that I won’t be at LSU until January,” Johnson said. “The NCAA kept on finding different things wrong with what we were sending. We sent what they asked, but they came up with more stuff.

“We even sent stuff over to (LSU assistant athletic director for football operations) coach (Sam) Nader, and he tried helping to get me cleared. But in the end the NCAA just kept finding ways to keep me from doing so.”

While fellow 2011 signee Alonzo Lewis elected to head down the junior college road after the NCAA didn’t clear him, Johnson will stay home in Covington with hopes of arriving to Baton Rouge in January.

“I am going to take two courses back at St. Paul’s, and that will pull my GPA up to where it needs to be,” Johnson said. “The NCAA wants me to replace two D’s with at least an A and a B.

“I went down my overall transcript and looked at things, and I am going to take English I and English III.”

With his new schedule set, Johnson hopes to go back to business as usual.

“I have been keeping a level head for the past few months,” Johnson said. “Things happen for a reason, and this is one of those times.

“I am just going to keep working out until I can get there for spring football. I have also been thinking about spending some time helping out around the football program at St. Paul’s. Maybe I could get out there and help teach some of the defensive linemen.”

Johnson said he never looked at enrolling elsewhere as a result of his academic hurdles.

“Nothing’s changed on that end,” Johnson said. “I have been ready for LSU since day one. That’s my school.”

Known for his strength in the weight room, Johnson – a state champion power-lifter – has already taken on LSU strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt’s workout routine.

“I got the workout guide when I signed on last February, and since then I have been all over it,” Johnson said. “I was even after it today. We mix up weights and cardio, and I’m feeling great. I am at 312 pounds and getting used to it.”

If Johnson enrolls in January, he will become a member of LSU’s 2012 signing class. LSU defensive line coach Brick Haley has not received a commitment from a defensive tackle in the current recruiting class.

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