Johnson enters his third season with the Gators as a veteran among UF’s young linebackers corps. Redshirt sophomore Kylan Johnson finished with 39 tackles in his first season on the field at Florida. (Photo: Tim Casey/UAA Communications) GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The surname Johnson has some rich athletic history at Skyline High in Dallas.
Four-time Olympic gold medalist sprinter Michael Johnson went to Skyline as did former NBA star Larry Johnson, the No. 1 overall pick of the NBA Draft in 1991.
Gators linebacker Kylan Johnson made his mark at Skyline too, throwing 36 touchdown passes as the Raiders’ starting quarterback his senior season.
Johnson’s hometown remains close to his heart. He took teammates Rayshad Jackson and Jahim Lawrence , a pair of Miami natives, home with him this summer and showed them around. The trio will head back to the Dallas area in September when the Gators open the season against Michigan at AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. Kylan Johnson offers athletic versatility at linebacker as a former high school quarterback. (Photo: Courtney Culbreath/UAA Communications) Johnson played a game there in high school. Get Johnson talking about life back in Big D, and he is certain to mention his pop’s barbecue and the person he considers the biggest influence on his life, his late grandmother Helen Johnson.
A redshirt sophomore who made the switch to defense at UF, Johnson is now a 20-year-old college student in search of a breakout season. He started six games last season and finished with 39 tackles, third among returning players now that safety Marcell Harris is out for the season.
Johnson’s memory often flashes back to when he was 11. That was his age when Helen Johnson passed away shortly after picking him up at football practice.
"She was special,” he said. "She helped raise me and my little brother. When my dad had to go to work, she said we would come to her house and stay. I saw her go through a lot. I really enjoyed her presence while she was in my life."
I caught up with Johnson recently for a Q&A to learn more about the player who had a career-high eight tackles and a sack in Florida’s SEC East-clinching win at LSU last season:
Q: What did you guys do when you took your teammates home?
A: We did a lot. Went out and ate a lot of bad food and desserts. It was fun.
Q: What is something Gator fans don’t know about you?
A: I’m an open guy. If they ever need somebody to talk to, they can always hit me up. I understand. I can see where people are coming from. Q: Where do you draw that trait from? A: I just think everybody needs somebody to talk to. I know it would be exciting to hear from a Florida Gator and I’m a player that would listen. Q: Your position group lost Jarrad Davis and Alex Anzalone to the NFL. What makes you think the group will be […]