It seems like forever and a day ago that the Calibraska movement was christened by Nebraska football head coach Mike Riley. It was Keyshawn Johnson, Sr’s own son that opened the pipeline when he committed to the Huskers on March 23, 2016 before his quarterback, Tristian Gebbia, committed all of 13 days later.
Four-star cornerback Elijah Blades would join the duo as another Californian in the 2017 recruiting class. This cycle, two of Nebraska’s ten commitments are from the Golden State (four-star recruits Manuel Allen and Chase Williams).
Husker fans that want to thank the Johnsons for making the Calibraska phenomenon legitimate would be well within their rights. Unfortunately, while the one who signed up to play under Riley at Nebraska may have helped lay the foundation, it appears that some cracks have developed.
Yesterday evening, news broke that Johnson, Jr. would be leaving the Nebraska football team to take some time to “mature.” The son of the former three-time Pro Bowler had recently been cited for marijuana possession and while Riley no doubt could handle the situation himself, dad stepped in and down came the hammer.
“One thing you will not do as my son is you will not embarrass Nebraska, you will not embarrass Mike Riley and you will not embarrass this family.
If you mature and you’re ready to resume your football career and academic goals, then Nebraska will be ready to embrace you” – Keyshawn Johnson, Sr. (Omaha World-Herald)
No doubt the younger Johnson isn’t happy with his father right now and that’s understandable. However, it’s refreshing to see a parent take this firm of a stance when it comes to a player’s priorities, especially one so high-profile.
If you look at who helped mold Senior as a player and a person, it’s not really that difficult to understand why he is choosing this course of action. He was very fond of Bill Parcells during his playing days as he took a no-nonsense approach to how he operated and Senior dug that.
“You’re never going to hear a player he released or cut say anything good about him,” Johnson said in a 2013 ESPN.com article. “They’re all going to say that he was hard, he was this or he was that. Well, that’s because you couldn’t play. And that’s the bottom line.”
Senior likely has his own take on how to dish a little Parcells-style love out to his son and whether or not it sticks is an entirely different matter. That said, it’s clear that Junior has a parent watching over him that can guide him properly.
Sometimes you need to take a step back, before you can go forward 👀 #GBR
— Keyshawn Johnson (@keyshawn) June 21, 2017
If Nebraska fans see a member of the Johnson family on Tom Osborne Field again is up in the air at this point, but take heart, Big Red backers. A shout out to ESPN 1480’s Greg Smith for pointing out that Junior’s own cousin Michael Thomas made the transition back to college football at Ohio State after taking some time off.
Regardless of what happens, as long as Riley is at the helm of the Cornhuskers, Senior will no doubt be touting the Huskers and that should help combat any negative recruiting that could come as a result of his son’s departure.
Bottom line: a round of applause for a dad who clearly wants his son to have a bright future whether it’s in football or not.