LOGAN, Utah – There is no standard for the road through a collegiate football career. A player never knows if their path will be easy or what trials they may go through or face.
Senior wide receiver Shaan Johnson’s time at Utah State has been an unpredictable one. From the very beginning, he has fought through injury and rehabilitation. He came into his first season with the plan of a redshirt as he was recovering from one knee surgery and preparing for another.
“I’ve been through a lot in these five years of working through these injuries. It taught me to be persistent. You know what you want to do and you work to do that,” Johnson said. “I’ve really enjoyed my time here and have grown through my experiences on and off the field.”
Intrigued by the family nature of the Utah State program, Johnson came to Logan with high hopes and expectations. While things didn’t necessarily go the way he imagined them to early on, he spent the next three years battling through recovery and working to find his role in the program.
“It was hard to just sit back and watch the team play, but it’s worked out for the best for me. I got to watch a lot of really good players play and I learned a lot from them,” Johnson said. “That experience made me who I am today. They gave me hope to do whatever I needed to do.”
Finally, in 2013, Johnson got his shot. He came off three years of sitting on the sideline, to making an impact. And that effort and dedication did not go unnoticed by the Aggie coaches.
“Shaan has been a hard-working Aggie throughout his years here. He waited his turn to play and was very valuable last year in his role down the stretch as we won the Mountain Division of the Mountain West and the Poinsettia Bowl,” said USU head coach Matt Wells. “Unfortunately, he’s been hampered with injuries through a lot of his career. He’s battled his tail off to get back to where he was, but just couldn’t make it through this last injury. He’ll be really successful in life and will be part of the Aggie brotherhood forever.”
As a junior, Johnson played in all 14 games, making three starts. With his shot finally in front of him, he quickly saw the benefits from his perspective.
“It benefited me tremendously. It was a chance to really see how the coaches want you to work and how they expect you to perform on the field,” Johnson said. “I’ve grown physically and mentally throughout my years here because of the expectations of the coaches. It’s completely different from what I thought this was going to be.”
With his career again cut short by an injury, Johnson is back trying to make his presence known. He now has the opportunity to work with younger players, helping them find their place.
“I’m a teacher to them on and off the field,” Johnson said. “I can help them through the playbook, in the classroom, and helping them see what Coach (Jovon) Bouknight expects.”
Though his college football career may not have panned out the way he always imagined it, Johnson is grateful for the work he put in, on and off the field, as he has already graduated from Utah State with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies. He is also grateful for the opportunity he had to be a part of the Aggie family.
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– USU –