Former Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson has signed a contract with the Columbus Lions’ indoor football team.
Lions head coach and director of football operations Jason Gibson said he became aware of Johnson’s availability thanks to Johnson’s brother Jamel, a receiver with the Lions. Gibson said he’s watched Johnson ever since his days at Carver High School in Montgomery and was always impressed with his pedigree.
“He’s hungry. He’s a good athlete and a good person,” Gibson said. “He’s local and close, and we’re excited to see how he can adapt to the arena football game.”
Johnson was a four-star pro-style quarterback when he signed with Auburn. After backing up Nick Marshall for two seasons, he stepped in as the Tigers’ top quarterback to start 2015.
Johnson entered the season with much hype but came back to earth as the year progressed, ultimately only starting nine of the Tigers’ 13 games. Johnson wound up in a quarterback battle in 2016 and played in five games.
Johnson left Auburn having playing in 30 games and compiling 2,223 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Johnson’s upcoming tenure with the Lions will be his first as a professional football player. He went undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft but did participate in the New York Giants’ rookie minicamp.
After he was not signed, Johnson began training to play professional basketball overseas. In January, Johnson was announced as a new assistant football coach at his high school alma mater.
Gibson stressed that it’s hard to tell how well Johnson will adapt to the arena’s style of play.
“He’ll have an advantage because of his height,” Gibson said of the 6-foot-5 Johnson. “Taller quarterbacks tend to have better success in the arena league. It’s a totally different game, and he’s learning it from scratch.
“He wants to compete, and he wants to win. If you get those kinds of qualities, it’s always helpful.”