KAMEN Johnson and Reinhardt College will get the chance to grow together on the football field.
The former Jefferson defensive end and fullback has signed a scholarship with the NAIA school, which won’t begin playing intercollegiate football until 2013.
Reinhardt, however, will start practicing this fall in preparation for the inaugural season next year.
“Yeah, that’s what I really liked about it because this being my first year in college and all,” Johnson said. “I can get used to the whole going to college concept and all that and then next year start (playing) football. I really liked that.”
Johnson, at this point, said he has no idea what kind of playing time he’ll see at Reinhardt — which will be members of the Mid-South Conference — but feels really comfortable with the school.
“I just liked the overall classes and all the types of things that I could do once I got to school,” Johnson said. “It was just a nice place, and I felt comfortable with the environment that I was in.”
Johnson had a brief but positive impact for the Dragons.
He transferred away from Jefferson to a Florida school after his freshman year in high school, but returned this past year and helped Jefferson go 8-3 and reach the first round of the state playoffs.
“It was a great year,” Johnson said. “I loved coming back and playing with all my friends.”
And the Dragons were happy to have him, as the 6-3, 230-lb. Johnson played on both sides of the ball.
Reinhardt, an instate school located in Waleska, recruited Johnson to play defensive end, and Jefferson coach T. McFerrin said that Johnson’s size and athleticism should be a plus at the next level.
Johnson has been in the weight room at Jefferson everyday working to get stronger as he transitions from high school football to college football.
“He’s worked out hard and stayed in shape,” McFerrin said. “He’s been with us almost everyday this summer, I think just about every single day just working out with our guys.”
Johnson said he’d like to bulk up to 240-lb., 245-lb.
“I just want to be as fast and as strong as I can possibly be,” Johnson said.
The Reinhardt program will be headed up by 30-year high school coaching veteran Danny Cronic, who amassed a 222-114 mark in the prep ranks. He spent 18 seasons with East Coweta.
McFerrin, who said he’s known Cronic for years, said Reinhardt and Cronic are getting a good football player and good person.
“I am just thrilled that they are giving Kamen a chance, because Kamen is a good guy,” McFerrin said. “He’s a really good person, and we certainly wish him well.”
McFerrin also said that Johnson’s future is bright.
“I think his future is a ahead of him,” McFerrin said. “I think his best football is in front of him. He’s grown. He’s gotten stronger.”