"It was tough watching all my guys working hard out there with the rest of the team. It was hard watching them play and not being able to help them out," he added.
In recent interviews, team members have expressed their excitement for seeing Johnson return to the field; he was one of only three true freshman who started in the 2010 season. The cornerback has made good use of his season off, preparing for rejoining the team in the following seasons.
"I've been working on getting stronger," he said. "I've gained about 10 pounds since spring. On top of that I've been working on my technique, footwork and speed; those are really the main things."
At the end of his junior season, at River Hill High School, Johnson was offered by Wake Forest. He was between Wake Forest and Wisconsin in his senior year, but described Wake as, "more of a family."
"It's where I belonged," he said, "and that's pretty much what it came down to.
"Wake and Wisconsin are opposite schools - Wisconsin has 50,000 people while Wake has five [thousand] and a great football program," he added.
Close friend and teammate Mike Campanaro also attended River Hill, which is how Johnson describes initially hearing of his future college.
He discussed how the team has progressed as a group since joining his freshman year.
"I think we're improving tremendously and our confidence is definitely increasing," he said. "We know now that we can compete with any team in our conference, and that we have the ability to compete with most teams in the country. We have a great group of guys and a lot of younger guys, and if everyone keeps working hard we're going to do some really special things.
Johnson described what he's learned from being a student-athlete at the collegiate level.
"Since being here I've learned that nothing is going to be handed to you," he explained. "You have to work for what you get, both on the field and in the classroom."
Kevin Johnson Profile