Alberta wide receiver commits to NCAA’s Fort Lewis Skyhawks (VIDEO)

Edmonton wide receiver with NCAA Division 2 team after facing setback.

Andrew Johnson’s next gridiron destination is Colorado.

Earlier this month, the 6’1, 205 pound wide receiver from Edmonton, Alberta signed with NCAA Division 2 team, Fort Lewis Skyhawks.

Initially, Johnson signed with NCAA Division 1 team North Carolina Central Eagles; however, there was a problem.

“I signed to play Division One football at North Carolina State; however, I had complications with the clearinghouse,” explained Johnson.  “These complications confused me.”

“These complications with the clearinghouse held me back, and they ruled me 100 percent INELIGIBLE for Division 1 Football and penalized me by taking away one year of eligibility.”

After he faced this setback, the wide receiver reconsidered all his options not only in the NCAA, but the CIS as well.   During this time, he realized that one school could get him a step closer to his goal of reaching in the NFL.

“I had a better chance of making the NFL playing under John L Smith (who used to be a great coach at big name Division 1 programs) at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado,” added Johnson.

With confidence, the Alberta standout signed with the Skyhawks.  Ultimately, he felt this was the right move for his career.

“I like Fort Lewis because their head coach knows many NFL scouts and has seen plenty of great talent in his coaching career so he knows what it takes for a player to go pro and for him to whole heartedly say he believes in me and that he can help get me a legitimate great shot at playing in the NFL, is what locked me in right away,” said Johnson of his decision.

Andrew Johnson 2

Recently, the wide receiver played for JUCO team New Mexico Military Institute Broncos.  During his two year stint there, he guided the team to the El Toro Bowl Championship.

Previous to the Broncos, Johnson also played for the Edmonton Wildcats of the Prairie Football Conference (PFC) in the Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL). Other teams he has suited up for include the Edmonton Chargers as well as both the McNally Tigers and J Percy Page Panthers of the Alberta Schools Athletic Association (ASAA).

Throughout his career, Johnson has received several honours including high school MVP, Journal MVP, PFC All-Star, PFC Rookie of the Year and PFC MVP.

Andrew Johnson 3

Now that he has found a gridiron home, the wide receiver feels as through a weight has been lifted off his shoulders.

“I am extremely relieved to have signed,” expressed Johnson.  “It was a long process for me, but it is relieving to have found another solidified place I can call home.”

As another recruit with Canadian roots that has found a home in the NCAA, he feels that more Canadians are gaining attention south of the border.  However, Johnson hopes the NCAA is clearer about their regulations and rules so it will help future Canadian recruits.

“I feel my NCAA commitment says a lot about Canada growing in the football community in general,” said Johnson.  “However, I feel the NCAA does not understand the Canadian leagues very well, which is why my ruling was so harsh).”

“I am a strong believer in you can make it out of anywhere, I just feel that to better my odds of one day playing in the NFL, the numbers don’t lie that little to no receivers from the CIS have made it past an NFL tryout, while there is many receivers from Division 2 who are not only on NFL teams, but who were stars (i.e. my favorite receiver Terrell Owens).”

While Johnson will have one year of eligibility remaining at Fort Lewis, he is taking steps to see if he can get the year he lost back.

“I can appeal and I will hopefully win to get my junior year back that the NCAA took from me,” stated Johnson, who said if the ruling is still upheld, his draft year for both the CFL and NFL would be in 2015.

Andrew Johnson 1

While he has faced an uphill battle throughout his life, Johnson is thrilled to be one step closer to realizing his ultimate gridiron journey. It has been a culmination of hard work and sacrifices.  However, it is not lost on him all the support and motivation he has received from several individuals.

“It has been a long struggle for me, finding a school to play while chasing my dream,” expressed the Alberta receiver.  “I have sacrificed a lot, fun times with friends, and watching my nephew grow.”

“My family has struggled a lot since I have been gone as my mom, who is a cancer survivor, now fights a battle against MS, and the history of mental illness that goes on in my family. This has fueled me to continue chasing my goals, and whether I reach them or not, knowing I am putting myself in the right positions and giving it all I have will be satisfaction enough for me. I truly believe the power of positivity, relentless hard work and dedication, and my no excuse attitude will help me reach plateaus I never could have dreamed of. I want to shout out Jesse Korona my trainer, Coach Joe Forchtner my old head coach and Coach Drew Thatcher each for believing in me and helping make me a better person and player, along with my family. Thank you to all the people along the way who have helped me, you all know who you are, and I am forever grateful and indebted to you. The best is yet to come, and much more people will begin to know my name.”

Lead Photo credit:  Fort Lewis Skyhawks Sports Information Website


Advocating for football prospects one story at a time.

Leave a Reply