(Note: Everything as far as the 2020 season is concerned is obviously up in the air with the entire world dealing with COVID-19)
After months of speculation, former Alcorn State quarterback and 2018 SWAC Offensive Player of the Year Noah Johnson announced on Thursday that he will be returning home to Tampa and transferring to USF after being granted a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA.
A dual-threat weapon coming out of nearby Armwood, Johnson led the Hawks to back-to-back 6A state championship game appearances as a prep star. Despite compiling over 5,000 yards and 44 touchdowns through his junior and senior seasons, the Class of 2015 standout went relatively unrecruited at quarterback and even got the “you should play wide receiver” treatment. Looking to prove himself, he ended up going to Alcorn State.
Starting as a redshirt freshman in 2016, he made his name known late in the season by scoring eight touchdowns against Mississippi Valley State, tying the single-game school record set by late Alcorn State great and NFL Hall of Famer Steve McNair.
With a skill to shake off defenders in the backfield while keeping his eyes upfield to fit the ball into tight windows for his receivers, Johnson’s monster 2018 season was good enough to vault the Braves to a SWAC championship and an appearance in the Celebration Bowl. His 2,207 passing yards (62% completion percentage), 1,080 rushing yards and 26 total touchdowns was earned him SWAC Offensive Player of the Year honors along with being a finalist for the Walter Payton Award and HBCU Player of the Year.
The 813 product was set to deliver an even bigger performance as a senior this past fall before an injury sidelined him for the season. His replacement, Felix Harper, would go on to have a monster season himself and was named the 2019 SWAC Offensive Player of the Year. After deliberation, Johnson decided to seek a hardship waiver from the NCAA and entered his name into the transfer portal.
Word quickly leaked out that he’d be looking to return home to Tampa and with former West Virginia legend and Alcorn State QB coach Pat White joining Jeff Scott’s new staff, Johnson’s decision to choose the Bulls was sealed.
USF’s QB room suddenly isn’t as barren as it was last fall with Johnson joining a group that includes scholarship signal-callers Jordan McCloud, North Carolina transfer Cade Fortin and, incoming true freshmen Jordan Smith out of Lake City Columbia, and Katravis Marsh from Miami Central.