Toledo defensive tackle Desjuan Johnson was selected in the seventh round of the NFL Draft by the LA Rams on Saturday. Johnson was the 259th and final player drafted overall.
Johnson is the ninth Rocket to be drafted during Head Coach Jason Candle’s tenure as head coach, going back to the 2017 draft.
Johnson, a Detroit native, was a three-time All-MAC player who racked up 47.0 tackles for loss and 15.0 sacks in his college career. As a senior in 2022, he had 65 tackles, 16.5 TFLs and 5.5 sacks, earning first-team All-MAC honors. He was also named honorable mention All-America by Pro Football Focus.
“I feel very blessed to be taken in the draft by the Rams,” said Johnson. “It didn’t matter to me where I was drafted. I just left it in God’s hands. I plan on putting my best foot forward and prove to everybody that I belong. I also feel very fortunate to be playing with one of favorite players, Aaron Donald. I plan on soaking up as much knowledge from him as I can. I’m lucky to be learning from him this early in my career.”
For Johnson, being drafted fulfills a lifelong dream, a dream also shared by his father, Dion Johnson. Dion Johnson, a defensive tackle for the Kansas Jayhawks in the early 2000s, died tragically in 2004 while he was still pursuing his dreams to play in the NFL.
“My dad was on my mind today,” said Johnson, who was four years old when his father died. “I feel like my dad is watching over me. He knows what’s best for me. I’m just going to work hard and let the rest be in God’s hands.”
Almost immediately after Desjuan Johnson was taken with the last pick of the NFL, former Rocket teammate Dyonate Johnson signed as an undrafted free agent with the New York Giants.
Johnson, a second-team All-MAC pick in 2022, racked up 273 tackles in this career, including a career-best 109 in 2022. He was named Defensive MVP in the 2022 MAC Championship Game, a 17-7 Toledo victory over Ohio. The Detroit native also made third-team All-MAC as a junior in 2021.
“I’m excited to be joining the Giants,” said Johnson. “I had a lot of communications and a personal workout with them so I knew they were very interested. I had a good conversation with the position coach so I feel like I can definitely help them at linebacker.”