Doubt new Giant Jadar Johnson at your own peril


by - Senior Writer -
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Johnson points into the crowd during the national championship celebration
Johnson points into the crowd during the national championship celebration

Doubt Jadar Johnson at your own peril.

The former Clemson safety didn’t hear his name called in last weekend’s NFL Draft, but it didn’t come as much of a surprise to the Orangeburg native, who feels like he’s been overlooked and underrated his entire life.

Johnson will get his shot in the NFL, however, after signing with the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent. He will join former Tigers B.J. Goodson and Wayne Gallman on the Giants roster. Knowing he had a fallback plan made not getting his name called a little easier.

“I already kind of expected it to be like that (not getting drafted), just knowing that I wasn’t one of the bigger names in the draft,” Johnson said. “I wasn’t, I would say, expecting the worst, but if push came to shove, I knew I would be alright.

“I was already kind of leaning toward that, especially after the second day went by and I didn’t get my name called. Just knowing the business and knowing how it works, I kind of knew what was going on.”

Johnson says all he needs is a shot, and he will take care of the rest.

It felt great,” Johnson said. “When I got that call from the Giants it made my day because all I ask for is a foot in the door—just let me get a shot. They gave me that, so I’m thankful for the Giants organization.”

Every college player wants to hear his name called on draft day, but Johnson says he gets the same opportunity to shine whether he was drafted or signed as a free agent.

“I definitely think that. When it comes to the NFL, they’re not going to invest any money in you if they don’t think you can play,” Johnson said. “Even though it’s a free agent deal, that’s still a good sign for me knowing that they believe in me and believe that I have enough talent to actually play on that level.

“I get the same opportunity as everybody else, even the guys that went in the first round—I get the same opportunity as them to compete when we all get there. It’s really all about getting that first step in the door.”

Johnson joins the ranks of several notable Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School alums who have played in the NFL, including former Clemson quarterback Woody Dantzler.

“It feels good, you know, having my name up there with guys who went to O-W and actually went to the NFL,” Johnson said. “Guys like Woody Dantzler, Auturo Freeman, Alex Barron, Tim Jennings—just having my name alongside those guys is definitely going to be a blessing. Those are guys that I looked up to when I was younger, so it’s just showing me that my dreams are actually coming true.”

Johnson will head to the Giants’ OTA’s with a well-worn chip on his shoulder.

“I’m definitely going to have a chip on my shoulder when I step out onto the field, but I’m used to it,” Johnson said. “Ever since me coming out of high school—I felt I was kind of underrated coming out—and even when I got to Clemson, I still felt like I was slept on a little bit at Clemson. It’s just the same thing over again.

“I feel like the journey I’ve had the last few years, I’m built for this, and I’m just ready for it—ready for the opportunity.”

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