BOCA RATON — Despite missing nearly all of the 2017 season as a redshirt sophomore, Florida Atlantic quarterback De’Andre Johnson will play the 2018 season as a redshirt junior, an FAU spokesperson told The Post on Tuesday.
The prized signing of Lane Kiffin’s first recruiting class last year, Johnson — well known for playing at East Mississippi Community College and starring on Netflix’s “Last Chance U” — played just one game in 2017 before undergoing emergency surgery in September for blood clots in his arm. He missed the rest of the season. In his one appearance, a Sept. 1 loss against Navy, Johnson completed two of three passes and was intercepted once.
The FAU spokesperson said Johnson could still apply for a medical redshirt later but will not do so now. Applying for a hardship waiver has been ruled out at this time as well.
Johnson, a former Florida State enrollee who was dismissed from the program following a 2015 assault charge, was Kiffin’s first signing at FAU in Dec. 2016. As recently as this past December, teammates were optimistic about Johnson returning to form for the 2018 season.
Shortly after his surgery, Johnson was named a game captain for the Owls’ Sept. 30 win over Middle Tennessee. Johnson also worked out with the team during practices and stood on the sideline during home games.
Johnson has been officially cleared for spring camp and likely will compete with former Oklahoma quarterback Chris Robison for the starting job. FAU currently has a commitment from three-star quarterback Cordel Littlejohn (Roswell, Ga.) and will bring Gulf Coast quarterback Kaden Frost to fall camp as a preferred walk-on. Neither of last year’s starting quarterbacks, Daniel Parr (Dwyer) and Jason Driskel, will be with the team in 2018 having, respectively, transferred and retired after the Owls’ Dec. 19 Boca Raton Bowl win.
FAU announced earlier this week that it will begin its spring camp March 20.