Jawaun Johnson to transfer from NIU

Northern Illinois’ best returning linebacker, Jawaun Johnson, will be leaving the program as a graduate transfer, reported and confirmed by DeKalb Daily Chronicle’s Josh Tolentino on Tuesday.

Johnson will have one year of eligibility remaining. Per Tolentino’s report, Johnson has sent his release to TCU, SMU and Baylor.

Tolentino quoted Johnson’s frustrations with how he was recognized in 2017 where he was on the Third Team All-MAC roster, snubbed out of First or Second Team accolades in Johnson’s opinion.

The final quote is what has gotten the most attention, obviously. Saying “The MAC did some political things” that put four other outside linebackers — including his now-graduated teammate Bobby Jones IV — ahead of him in the all-conference awards. It’s difficult to figure out what Johnson meant by that statement, but no matter what his reasoning is, NIU’s losing its best returning linebacker and won’t have any seniors at that position this season.

The All-MAC First Team outside linebackers includes Akron’s Ulysees Gilbert and Kent State’s Jim Jones, while NIU’s Jones and Ohio’s Chad Moore made the Second Team roster. Last year, Johnson led all MAC linebackers with 18 tackles for loss, was tied for second in the MAC with five interceptions, tied for No. 1 in fumbles forced (5), his 98 total tackles are only behind Gilbert, Jones IV and tied with Jones and was tied for fourth in the MAC with 59 solo tackles.

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