D.J. Johnson, a former 4* high school recruit out of North Central High School, and Iowa transfer is no longer on the Purdue roster.
Don’t believe me? Check for yourself.
I think I’m a little more in the loop than most people when it comes to Purdue football, but I haven’t heard anything about D.J. moving on from any Purdue source. I listened to Coach English’s press conference last night, and per Purdue tradition, he said the corner position was thin and battling injuries and that they were having to play safeties at corner in practice on occasion (although we’re also out of safeties as well). He mentioned Trice, Mackey, and Howard as the 3 guys leading the way, and I was surprised to hear no mention of D.J. Johnson.
I went to the official spring roster, and he’s no longer listed, after being on the fall roster. I know he was one of the 5 players to opt out at the end of last season, but I thought he would be back. I scanned the transfer portal, and he’s not listed there either. My assumption is that he’s no longer playing football for Purdue, or anyone else.
This is obviously a huge blow to both depth and talent at the corner position. Corey Trice and Dedrick Mackey are the only two corners on the roster with any sort of meaningful experience. It looks like Geovante’ Howard will be the third man up, and you’ll probably see Trice and Howard on the perimeter with Mackey covering the slot most of the time. Another player you should see a good bit, potentially as a starter in the slot, is graduate transfer C.J. McWilliams, but it doesn’t appear that he’s on campus at the moment. His addition to the roster makes much more sense to me now, and he’ll need to play a key role after missing the majority of the last two seasons at Florida.
After that, guys like redshirt freshman Anthony Romphf, junior corner/safety Kadin Smith, and sophomore Nyles Beverly are going to have to step up and provide depth. Another option is to move Cam Allen back to corner, and start Sanoussi Kane next to Marvin grant at safety, but that puts the safety position in the same bind we’re in at corner.
Coach English, and whoever joins coach English to coach in the secondary has their work cut out for them this season. Purdue needs the top 4 guys to make it through the season unscathed, and that, as we know, rarely happens.
Hope springs eternal though.
*As a side note, I cover 2 other teams, and if a 4* defensive back disappeared off the Clemson or Kansas State roster, I’m pretty sure I would hear about it. Purdue has a different way of handling information than most places, to put is mildly.