Freshman LB Javarie Johnson leaving Maryland
One of the headliners of Maryland’s 2010 football recruiting class won’t suit up for the Terps this fall.
Freshman linebacker Javarie Johnson has been granted his release from Maryland, an athletic department official confirmed Thursday. Johnson, who committed to Miami last summer, enrolled at Maryland in January and participated in spring practice.
“The big thing for him was to get out of town and get away from some of the distractions around home. Some kids just need to get away,” said Craig Jefferies, his football coach at Dunbar High in Washington. “This really wasn’t a great fit for him. I personally think he needed to be away. It wasn’t anything Maryland did or didn’t do. He wasn’t doing well academically there, but you really can’t fault Maryland and you can’t fault Javarie. It’s probably an even exchange in what happened.
“But that wasn’t the primary reason he wasn’t doing well. He was a kid that kind of needed a different environment away from his home. Maryland was really deep at the linebacker position, but he was ready to compete for that. But it was a lot of adversity that came in to play with that. Between him and Maryland, it was probably a consensus that they both kind of cut their ties early and let him go on and do what he needs to do and get him an opportunity to fend for himself a little bit. It wasn’t an ideal situation to come in, but Maryland gave him an opportunity and I guess he saw early that he wanted to go back to his original idea and really be away [from home]. I personally think that’s the best thing for him. [Maryland] tried and extended themselves and tried to make the best of it, but ultimately it wasn’t enough.”
Johnson, a four-star prospect and Washington’s top-ranked player, was the highest rated prospect in the Terps’ 2010 recruiting class. At Maryland’s Signing Day news conference, Terps coach Ralph Friedgen said Johnson was a candidate for immediate playing time as a true freshman.
“He is a kid that I fell in love with last year,” Friedgen said. “I was very disappointed when he signed with Miami. When you meet this kid, you'll see why -- he always has a smile on his face. He has a wonderful personality. He's also 6-3, 250 pounds and can run a 4.5, so that lights me up a little bit so I smile.”
Jefferies said Johnson has submitted a list of schools he might be interested in to the Maryland staff. Johnson probably won’t be allowed to enroll at any ACC school, or any school that the Terps have on future schedules.
“You just don’t release kids to those schools. That’s understandable. But they’re working on that as we speak,” Jefferies said. “We’ll try to find the best situation, where he’ll fit in academically and get away from the area where he can be successful.”
Photo of Johnson courtesy of the University of Maryland.