Former FSU quarterback De’Andre Johnson will attend East Mississippi Community College, but he will not play football.
Head coach Buddy Stepens says that Johnson, who was dismissed from FSU after punching a woman in a bar fight, will attend class and “mandated counseling” sessions at the school. However, he won’t play the game.
“He is coming here and enrolling in school,” Stephens told The Columbus Dispatch. “He will not participate in football … he is giving up football, something he dearly loves, for a year to work on these things.”
Johnson was charged with misdemeanor battery and has a pretrial date set for Aug. 26 in Tallahassee.
Johnson was a four-star recruit for FSU. Johnson had signed a National Letter of Intent with EMCC last week but was released from the binding agreement according to the National Junior College Athletic Association’s website.
“He is totally stepping away from football,” Stephens said during EMCC’s Media Day on Monday. “He is going to concentrate on his grades, which were really good anyway. We made the decision to have him out here. He is still part of our family. We are not going to throw him away. It’s early, but I am telling you, we are hopeful for him because he is such a great kid.”
Johnson, 19, was Florida’s Mr. Football at First Coast High School in Jacksonville in 2014, and redshirted at FSU last season. He has pleaded not guilty to a battery charge stemming from the April incident.
“I think this can be a success story,” Stephens said. “We didn’t get (him) for any other reason than we think we can help this young man. A lot of thought and prayer went into this decision. Everybody I talked to said the same thing — people make mistakes.
“He made a bad mistake. In making this decision, I tried to put myself in that girl’s father’s position and I tried to put myself in his position. People can say all they want to say in the blogs. It is not going to affect how we play or who we play. We are going to do things that are good for kids. He is not a thug. He made a bad decision.”