Penn State Football: Johnson Status Seemingly Doubtful As Nittany Lions Head To Rutgers
Penn State might be without receiver Juwan Johnson another week. While Nittany Lions coach James Franklin didn't commit to Johnson's return to the field, it certainly didn't sound positive for the junior wideout.
"Yeah, you know Juwan, obviously, is fighting through some things. Juwan's been through things like this kind of throughout his career and throughout his life. And our team has been awesome with him. Very talented guy. He's flashed some brilliance at times," Franklin said.
"But we've got to get him healthy. And once he's healthy he'll be able to go out there and contribute at a very high level and we need him. But like I've talked about all year long, got a tremendous faith in Juwan, got a lot of love for Juwan. But we've just got to get him 100% healthy so he can go out and be the type of player we know he can be. And when will that be, again, I'm not going to speculate."
Johnson missed all of the past two games with an unspecified injury. He was injured during Penn State's road game against Indiana and played sparingly in the first half of the ensuing game against Iowa. Johnson did not make the trip to Ann Arbor for the Nittany Lions' game against Michigan and was not dressed this past weekend against Wisconsin.
In turn, freshman wideout Jahan Dotson has seen increased playing time, Franklin and his staff officially "green-lighting" Dotson for play the rest of the season. Freshman Justin Shorter also made his first career catch against Wisconsin. Dotson has seven catches for 99 yards in having made appearances in four games this season.
Johnson has 21 receptions this season for 293 yards and a touchdown. While the junior wideout has had an inconsistent season, his size and strength at 6-foot-4 makes him a unique target in a receiving corps that boast eight different players under six-feet tall.
While Johnson has never indicated his intentions to declare early for the NFL Draft, injury issues and an inconsistent season seem to point towards a potential rebound year in 2019 for the New Jersey native.
Franklin classified receiver Brandon Polk, who was inactive against Wisconsin, as being in a "similar" situation as Johnson as it pertains to his health and potential return.
"It's hard to say the same, because there's a hundred variables that go into it but similar," Franklin said. "There's some similarities there."