It wasn't just grades that derailed Cory Johnson's hope of playing at Temple, with whom he signed coming out of Chambersburg Area High School in Pennsylvania. There was also an issue with the classes he was taking.
Unbeknownst to him, many of the classes he had taken throughout his high school career were not acceptable by the NCAA standards. After a lot of effort during his senior year, he had to look at the junior college route.
The JUCO route is one that many prospects take out of high school. But Johnson's route to ASA was anything but ordinary. After a mishap with one junior college program, he had all but given up hope of playing division one football.
"It was mostly SATs out of high school," Johnson recalled. "My grades, they were alright. But the Temple coaches told me I didn't have enough core classes. I ended up taking double digit classes my senior year because I didn't have enough core classes. I took enough classes to graduate, but the classes I took, none of them were clear for the NCAA. I had to take almost twenty classes my senior year. I almost finished but I guess the work load was too much. I almost finished. I got down to two classes and I was told I had to retake five classes so I ended up not finishing.
"Right out of high school, Temple put me on with this other school. I went and tried it out but ended up finding out that program was a scam. So we ended up leaving there. When you go to one school and things don't work out you kind of give up hope especially at the JUCO level. Once I found out about ASA from a good friend of mine, I called immediately and took advantage of every opportunity they gave me. It's paying off and overwhelming. But at the same time, you have to stay humble."
Despite the lack of hope of fulfilling his dreams, Johnson was determined to enjoy his time playing football at ASA even if it was the end of his career. But his story doesn't end there. In fact, it is just beginning. Major conference division one programs have started to take notice of the 6-foot-3 defensive tackle.
"I've got a couple offers," Johnson declared. "I've got Syracuse, Arizona State, Temple, North Carolina State, and Miami. Syracuse just came out of nowhere today at practice. They just happened to call me over today and let me know they had seen my tape and that they wanted to offer me.
"Other than the fact that I was already hurt from practice, I didn't really have a reaction. I'm happy to have the offer, but at the same time I don't know too much about Syracuse."
While Johnson is still learning about the Syracuse program, he has a valuable resource that could give the Orange an advantage.
"Yeah I know Wayne Williams pretty well," Johnson admitted. "I would think it would be great to play together. Seeing as how he and I already have a great relationship, and from what I've seen he seems like a great player.
"We could be productive on the field together when we were on the field together."
Still early in the process and humbled by the attention, Johnson says he is not close to a decision. Visits will be critical for his services, but he's just glad to have options.
"I don't really have any favorites," Johnson claimed. "I never really gave this any thought because I never thought I would all of these offers. I haven't really looked at which school I want to go to. I just figure I'll take some visits and whatever school I like the most is the one I'll try to go to.
"I would love to visit Syracuse. I was up there for the bowl game. I didn't really get to see too much but they look like they have a great campus."