Although very few people know it, defensive end Bryan Johnson (Hempstead, N.Y./Nassau Community College) has committed to play football at Syracuse. Now he just needs the NCAA's stamp of approval.
Johnson's situation is an unusual one. He enrolled at Nassau Community College in 2006 but left school after three weeks so he could get a job and help out his family financially. He re-enrolled and began playing football at Nassau Community College in 2010.
Johnson said he will need a waiver to play for Syracuse, because the NCAA gives student-athletes five years to complete a four-year athletic career. The clock started ticking for Johnson when he began college in 2006.
“Because I started school back then and then left, my eligibility is messed up,” Johnson said. “Syracuse is helping me with this. They sent a waiver to the NCAA, and if I get the waiver, it would allow me to play right away. I'd have three years to play two. They told me it could take 21 days to a year.”
Johnson, 23, said he received a scholarship offer from Syracuse in August. He also has offers from Arizona State (before Dennis Erickson was fired), Akron and Miami. His latest offer came from Miami three weeks ago.
“None of the schools knew about my situation when they offered, and I didn't find out about it until [Syracuse] reviewed my transcript,” Johnson said. “My coaches at Nassau weren't clear on the [NCAA] rules.”
Syracuse's need to bring in a defensive end grew when defensive end Chandler Jones decided to forgo his senior season to enter the NFL draft.
Johnson said he feels a sense of loyalty to Syracuse, because the school is helping him with his eligibility issue.
“Definitely,” he said. “It's where I want to be.”