TCU lands graduate LB transfer Jawuan Johnson

Adam RittenbergESPN Staff Writer2 Minute Read

The TCU Horned Frogs are adding graduate transfer Jawuan Johnson, an all-conference linebacker at Northern Illinois in 2017.

Johnson announced his decision Sunday night on Twitter after visiting TCU over the weekend. He told ESPN.com that he had another visit set for Alabama, but TCU is his first choice, mainly because his family lives in Texarkana, Texas. Johnson is on track to graduate from Northern Illinois in May. He hopes to be with TCU by the end of the month. He has one year of eligibility remaining.

"It just felt like that's where I belonged," Johnson told ESPN.com. "It felt like home. Everything clicked. The coaches clicked from the jump, and the players brought me in. I was in the locker room for the spring game. They welcomed me like family."

A third-team All-MAC selection last season, Johnson recorded 98 tackles, including 18 for loss, and had five interceptions and five forced fumbles for NIU. He tied for the MAC lead in forced fumbles and tied for second in interceptions while ranking fourth in tackles for loss. Born in East St. Louis, Illinois, Johnson played high school football in Texas and wanted to play his final season closer to his family. After deciding to leave Northern Illinois, he reached out to TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney, a high school teammate, who connected him to the Frogs coaches.

"TCU was my dream school," he said. "I had moved to Texas in seventh grade, and my first year of football was there. Texas taught me a lot about football."

Johnson think he could play strongside linebacker for TCU and likes the team's 4-2-5 scheme, which is based more on speed than size. The Frogs are looking to replace linebacker Travin Howard, their leading tackler from 2017.

"Being honest, I knew what I was going to do before the season happened," Johnson said of his breakout performance in 2017. "I missed a lot of big plays I could have made. It was only about getting better this offseason. There's a lot more coming than last year."