Jan. 8, 2007
ATLANTA–Georgia Tech’s two-time all-America Calvin Johnson will forgo his senior season and enter the National Football League draft, the junior wide receiver announced.
Johnson made the announcement at a Monday news conference on the Tech campus, accompanied by his parents, Arica and Calvin Johnson, Sr., and older sister, Erica Johnson.
The 6-5, 235-pounder from Tyrone, Ga., is widely projected to be one of the top selections in this spring’s draft. He is expected become the first Yellow Jacket selected in the first round since linebacker Keith Brooking was taken with the 12th pick in the 1998 draft by the Atlanta Falcons.
Johnson leaves Georgia Tech as the Yellow Jackets’ career leader in receiving yards (2,927) and touchdown receptions (28). He also stands second in career receptions (178).
This season, he was a unanimous first-team all-America selection and the winner of the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver. He was also named Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year while earning first-team all-ACC honors for the third straight year.
Johnson was second in the nation with 15 touchdown catches while leading the ACC in receptions (76, 5.4 pg) and receiving yards (1,202, 85.9 pg). He set Tech season records for receiving yardage and touchdowns.
Johnson capped his remarkable three-year career with perhaps his best game against 12th-ranked West Virginia in the Toyota Gator Bowl with nine catches for a career-best 186 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
FIRST ROUND DRAFT PICKS FROM GEORGIA TECHKeith Brooking 1-12 1998 Atlanta FalconsMarco Coleman 1-12 1992 Miami DolphinsEddie Lee Ivery 1-15 1979 Green Bay PackersKent Hill 1-26 1979 Los Angeles RamsTed Davis 1-8 1964 San Diego Chargers (AFL)Rufus Guthrie 1-10 1963 Los Angeles RamsLarry Morris 1-7 1955 Los Angeles RamsEddie Prokop 1-4 1945 Boston Patriots
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
Opening Statement: “I’ve come to announce today that I will be forgoing my senior year and entering the (NFL) draft this spring.”
What motivated him on the decision: “I just sat down and talked with my family and coach (Chan) Gailey, and some of the other coaches, and we came up with the idea that it would be the best way to go.”
Any wavering?: “After I made the decision, that was my decision.”
On the difficulty of the decision: “When you think about it, you’re leaving your teammates and I had a great time here at Tech. The coaches, support staff, everybody, made it a tough decision, but I chose to leave.”
What was the main factor was for leaving for the NFL: “It’s been a dream of mine. That’s the one thing that sticks out to me. It’s been the one place I’ve wanted to be since I started playing football.”
On advice he sought outside of Tech family: “I have teammates in the league, and what not, but I wouldn’t say I went to them for advice. I basically stayed within my family.”
On where the NFL projects him: “I can’t really say I went to the advisory committee, I just made the decision on my own.”
On telling his teammates: “I talked to most of my teammates. A lot of them are rooting for me and wished me the best of luck.”
On finishing school: “That’s definitely something I’m going to do.”
On the order of the teams in the NFL draft: “I couldn’t say that had anything to do with my decision.”
On how high he might go and if Oakland or Detroit could be a possibility “Yes, I believe I have the potential of going pretty high.”
On his top moments at Tech: “That’s tough because there have been a lot of great moments here. Of course, Clemson my freshman year when I began my career here, and the way I ended it down in Jacksonville.”
On the amount of schooling he has left: “I probably have about a year-and-a-half left.”
“I’m supporting my son and his decision. He has grown since he has been at Tech in his thinking about the things that are going to come presently and in the future. He’s weighed that very deeply, and he has committed back to education and he will finish his degree. I’m happy with his decision, as long as he keeps his focus.”
Calvin Johnson, SR.
“It’s just one of those situations where you have to maximize the moment. It’s an opportunity that doesn’t come along very often and he made the right decision for himself. Not that he felt a lot of pressure from us. If he decided he wanted to come back to school, that would’ve been fine also.”
“When something like this happens, you get excited for the young man and his family. Obviously they’re a great family. He gave a lot to Georgia Tech, and Georgia Tech gave back to him. I’m excited about his future, where he’s headed and what he’s going to do. I hope this isn’t the last time I get to say it, we know that he’s a great player, but he’s a better person than he is a player, and that bodes well for him the future.”
On comparing Calvin to other great NFL wide receivers he’s had: “The sky is the limit. He has all the tangible factors, to be a great, great player, and he has the intangible factors to be a great, great player. We all know that there are a lot of variables that come into play for that to happen, but everything is in place, and it’s in place now. It doesn’t have to wait another year to be in place; it’s in place now.”