Texas freshman Herman Johnson gave
LSU one of its biggest signees ever (in more ways than one) when he inked his
name to a letter of intent last February. Although Johnson had ties to Louisiana
after being born in Monroe, he wasn’t a lock for the Tigers during the
“It came down to OU and LSU, but
when I went to Oklahoma on my visit I really didn’t feel at home,” Johnson said.
“I really felt uncomfortable and out of place.”
Or maybe a national had something
to do with it? When the Tigers captured the BCS National Title last January
defeating the Oklahoma Sooners, Johnson was still up in the air about where he
wanted to go to school.
But maybe an early childhood
experience had something to do with Johnson’s fate. A story in the Monroe
News-Star last year told the story of how the doctor that delivered Johnson, who
is the state record baby weighing over 15 pounds, offered the big fella some
advice on the day he was born. The doctor said he leaned down to Johnson’s ear
and said ‘LSU.’”
“I heard it from the doctor
himself,” Johnson said. “We went out to eat a while back and did an interview in
a local newspaper in Monroe and he was kind of telling me all the things about
when I was born and stuff.”
Johnson actually said he knew it
was to be LSU when he first visited the campus and met the coaches and
Johnson has yet to practice with the LSU Tigers. He was hospitalized last week
suffering from an infection in his left leg brought on from an insect bite.
(Photo by MJBrown)
“I pretty much got along with the
coaches and players and establishing relationships with my teammates and getting
along with all of them,” Johnson said.
At 6-7 and 400 pounds, Johnson was
the biggest recruit in the history of LSU football. And when he arrived on
campus in mid July, he was one big guy weighing in at a reported 411 pounds.
Badly overweight and out of shape, LSU strength coach Tommy Moffitt got Johnson
headed down the straight and narrow with a workout and conditioning program. In
a matter of weeks, Johnson shed 40 pounds and was a trim 371 pounds on media
“It was basically up to me,
myself,” Johnson said. “I was on a diet and had to keep up with that, run
everyday and the weight just fell off.”
But as fall camp neared, Johnson
was met with an obstacle he is still trying to overcome. An insect bite that he
incurred before leaving Texas for LSU grew into an infection on his leg.
“I was helping my mom move and I
spent most of the time outside helping put the stuff in the truck,” Johnson
said. “I looked down at my leg and I had like a couple of bumps so I didn’t
really expect anything so I just put some Neosporin and stuff on it to see if it
would go away. The pain and stuff went away, but when I got here a couple of
Saturday’s ago I looked down at my leg and it was totally swollen.”
Johnson has yet to practice with
the team and even spent a couple of nights in the hospital just for
precautionary measures. He said it is frustrating to see his teammates out
practicing while he is hobbling around on crutches.
“Everyday I am just sitting there
looking through my playbook while all my other teammates are going out to
practice,” Johnson said. “It is annoying sometimes. I really don’t like