Johnson committed to Ole Miss back in 2015, but ran into academic issues that did not allow him to come directly to Oxford. He has maintained since, however, that he would be a Rebel as soon as possible, i.e., as soon as his academic situation was resolved.
"It's been a long time coming," Johnson said. "I never lost faith in getting to Ole Miss. Saturday I went up there to meet with coach (Hugh) Freeze. We sat down and just talked about life. We really didn't even talk football. We talked about life. We talked about things that can keep you from doing the right things. He told me that God puts obstacles in your way, and we have to figure out a way around them. Everybody isn't perfect. Now he's going to give me a chance to be a part of their family in December. That's what I always wanted."
The former Dandy Dozen selection committed to Ole Miss in June of 2014 before entering his senior season at Bruce. When it became apparent during Christmas break of his senior season that he wasn't going to qualify he made a detour to East Mississippi CC. It hasn't been an easy ride.
"I went through spring training at running back and had a really good spring. Then I messed my shoulder up and sprained my AC joint. I had to take a medical redshirt this past season. I started working out again during the season, but I didn't get cleared for full contact until January. This spring they moved me to defense. It was good for me. That's where I think I fit in best. Really, I'll play anywhere on defense. I love to give the hit instead of taking it. I feel like with my size and aggressiveness I can play several different positions on defense."
This season is about proving to himself, and all the doubters, that's he's still one of the top players around the South.
"I just want to prove to everybody that I still got it. I want to prove to myself that I still have it. I've never missed games before because of an injury. It's been difficult sitting out a whole season just watching everyone play. It was kind of a blessing in disguise too though. Now I have all of my academics straight. I'll graduate in December and will still have three years of eligibility left to play with (Armani) Linton and all of my boys. I just want to leave here with a bang. Have a great season and help my teammates win a national championship. Then it's time to take the show to Ole Miss. My heart has never left there. I can't wait to get up there."
Jay amassed over 1,800 yards of offense and 10 sacks as a senior at Bruce. He was named a two time 1st Team All-State selection, Dandy Dozen and selected as the No.43 overall defensive end in the class of 2015.