Defensive tackle Jerome Johnson opts to pursue professional career

Indiana absorbed a second blow on its defensive line in as many days.

First team All-Big Ten redshirt senior Jerome Johnson posted on his Instagram account on Wednesday morning that he has decided not to use the extra year of eligibility granted to all athletes and play professionally after five seasons with the Hoosiers.

“In 2016 I started a new chapter in my life,” Johnson wrote in his Instagram post.  “I became part of a team; a team that would eventually grow to become much more than just that, my family.  I’ve grown so much over the past five years, and none of that would have been possible without the encouragement and belief from my teammates and coaches. … I’m proud to call myself a Hoosier and will continue to years from now.”


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A post shared by Jerome Johnson (@jeromedeamonte)

Johnson played in all eight 2020 games, compiling 18 tackles, including 4.5 for a loss and 4 sacks.  Johnson also had an interception, fumble recovery and blocked kick.

Head coach Tom Allen recently told the story of Johnson’s recruitment and unlikely path to All-Big Ten status.

“Jerome Johnson had no Division 1 offers out of high school, and he came from a small town in Mississippi,” Allen said in December.   “I knew his head coach, I recruited that area at Ole Miss and I knew him and we brought him here on an official visit and had not even offered him yet and I kind of convinced everybody here, I was not the head coach at the time, and convinced them to take him.”

Indiana will return Sio Nofoagatoto’a and Demarcus Elliott in the middle of its defensive line.  Promising young talents Damarjhe Lewis, and C.J. Person are important parts of the equation at tackle going forward.

Johnson was the final player expected to make an announcement regarding the extra year of eligibility.

Here is a summary of the decisions made:

  • Jovan Swann (DL) – NFL Draft
  • Kham Taylor (TE) – Returning
  • Haydon Whitehead (P) – Not expected to return
  • Marcelino Ball (DB) – Returning
  • Mackenzie Nworah (OL) – Returning
  • Dylan Powell (OL) – Returning
  • Jared Smolar (K) – Returning
  • Jerome Johnson (DL) – NFL Draft
  • Raheem Layne (DB) – Returning
  • Whop Philyor (WR) – NFL Draft
  • Ty Fryfogle (WR) – Returning
  • Harry Crider (OL) – NFL Draft
  • Michael Ziemba (DL) – Returning

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