From school reports



Former Ole Miss defensive standout and Philadelphia High School graduate C.J. Johnson has returned to the Scooba campus as East Mississippi Community College’s newly hired defensive line coach.

ohnson previously served as a defensive graduate assistant coach on EMCC’s 2016 MACJC state championship football team that went 11-1 and finished with a No. 2 season-ending national ranking in the NJCAA poll. He replaces Davern Williams, who has been hired as the defensive line coach at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

“We’re very excited to welcome C.J. Johnson to our staff as the Lions’ defensive line coach,” EMCC head football coach Buddy Stephens said. “He is very enthusiastic and does a great job teaching and motivating his group of players.  C.J. is also an excellent technical coach who genuinely cares about his players, and it shows every day through his hard work and enthusiasm.”

This past season at Florida Atlantic University while working as a second-year defensive graduate assistant on Lane Kiffin’s coaching staff, Johnson was reunited with defensive coordinator Chris Kiffin, who mentored the defensive end-turned-linebacker at Ole Miss.  The 2017 FAU Owls went 11-3 on the year en route to claiming the Conference USA championship and winning the Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl.

“This is a place I consider home,” Johnson noted. “EMCC has been the gold standard for junior college football, and I’m blessed to have the opportunity to coach at this perennial powerhouse.”

Prior to beginning his coaching career in 2016 with his initial EMCC stint, Johnson was a five-year letterman (2011-15) at Ole Miss, where he helped lead former head coach Hugh Freeze’s Rebel squads to four consecutive postseason bowl game appearances, including three bowl victories.  As a three-year defensive starter for the Rebels, Johnson recorded 180 career total tackles, 27 stops behind the line of scrimmage, including 13.5 sacks, 11 quarterback hurries, three pass interceptions, four fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.