Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson rarely looked up at reporters during his post-game press conference.
The quarterback limited his answers to short, clipped sentences while staring at a fixed point on the floor.
Johnson’s reluctance to let down his guard following a 55-0 win over Alabama A&M wasn’t a surprise considering the adversity he faced going from the expected face of coach Gus Malzahn’s program to a third wheel.
Johnson kept circling back to the message he shared with fans on his Instagram account before the game — Saturday’s win was for his “blood brother” Sean White and the rest of his Auburn teammates.
“They never turned their back on me,” Johnson said after his first start since last year’s Iron Bowl. “Never looked at me no kind of way after all I’ve been through. I love those guys. I’m going to miss being around them.”
It sounded as if Johnson had made peace with the idea of preparing for the “next chapter” of his career, but running through the tunnel at Jordan-Hare Stadium with his teammates was an experience the senior cherished every minute of.
“All I’ve been through, I still love being around this team that’s the most important thing to me here is my teammates,” Johnson said. “All the other stuff don’t even matter.”
Auburn’s locker room rallied around the idea of giving Johnson a special moment to celebrate following two turbulent seasons spent mostly on the bench.
“He deserved it,” Auburn offensive lineman Robert Leff said. “He’s stuck through the thick and thin. He’s been here and he’s pushed through the whole time.”