Keyshawn Johnson Jr. won’t be rejoining the Nebraska football team.
Johnson Jr. — one of the most touted wide receiver recruits in recent NU history — took a leave of absence from the team in June after he enrolled early and went through spring practices. He returned home to California, and his father, the longtime NFL veteran, said at the time his son needed to “mature.”
The door was open for Johnson Jr.’s return, though, according to then-coach Mike Riley. Keyshawn Johnson Sr. played for Riley at USC in the mid-1990s, a big reason why his son landed at Nebraska.
Johnson Jr. spent this fall getting in better shape and preparing for a potential return to NU. But with Riley out and Scott Frost in, his return seemed murky.
“Thank you Coach Riley and the University of Nebraska for giving me the opportunity to play at the Division I level,” Johnson Jr. said in a message posted to Twitter. “Although it was a short stand, it was one that I will never forget. With that being said I will be furthering my academic and football career at a different Division I college.”
Two of Johnson Jr.’s high school teammates, Tristan Gebbia and Marquel Dismuke, remain at Nebraska.
Johnson Jr. had a short but rough stint at Nebraska. He was struck with an illness that set him back physically and caused him to miss some time in spring practice. He appeared in the spring game, catching one pass for 7 yards. He lost a fumble at the end of that play.
In June, Johnson was cited on suspicion of marijuana possession after, according to a University of Nebraska-Lincoln police report, a dorm hall director detected marijuana use coming from a dorm room. Johnson was reportedly found with less than an ounce of marijuana and drug paraphernalia on a Friday afternoon.
He entered a pretrial diversion program for the charges of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.