Ex-Cat Johnson finally makes it to NFL draft

2014-04-27T00:00:00Z Ex-Cat Johnson finally makes it to NFL draft Arizona Daily Star
April 27, 2014 12:00 am

When he left school in 2002, Jason Johnson was the most prolific quarterback in Arizona history. He threw for 3,327 yards that season and, in two years as the starting QB, threw 35 touchdown passes, by far the most in school history at that time.

But Johnson wasn’t drafted by the NFL. He spent three seasons playing football in Europe and then put his degree from the UA’s Eller College of Management to work.

Today, Johnson is the president and creative director of Jason Ryan Creative, and, among other projects, is working for ESPN.

He has produced and filmed ESPN’s new “Draft Academy” series that follows five players through the NFL draft process. Johnson spent considerable time with South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney, Central Florida’s Blake Bortles, Washington’s Bishop Sankey, USC’s Marqise Lee and cornerback Pierre Desir of Division II Lindenwood College.

Johnson and Lee flew to South Carolina last week to film an Under Armour commercial.

“It definitely feels like I’ve come full circle looking back to when ESPN filmed ‘The Season’ on us during my junior year (2001),” Johnson said. “I always knew this is what I wanted to do when I got done playing and actually got my start learning from that ESPN crew. It’s pretty interesting I’m now on the other end of things.”

Johnson was a terrific college football player whose timing — the John Mackovic years — was bad. Johnson won the Woody Hayes Award as the top NCAA Division I scholar-athlete while at Arizona and made the best of his days as a Wildcat.

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