ASU Football: Cam Johnson hopes to spark a spark on the pitch at ASU, bring about meaningful change through NIL

Forty-eight percent.

This is the remaining amount of total Sun Devil production received (including running backs) for the transfer portal in this season. If you play a frequent role in players who become pros, 80% of receiving yards in 2021 came from players who are no longer on the team.

Enter Camron “Cam” Johnson.

Johnson is the latest acquisition of the Herm Edwards Gateway. Johnson, a four-star receiving prospect from Vanderbilt, occupied 1,233 yards and received ten touchdowns in four years as Commodore. In 2020, he was the team’s leading receiver with 56 catches for 545 yards and three touchdowns.

One of Johnson’s major selling points has been Arizona State University’s recent success in converting wide receivers into NFL draft picks. From 2019-2021, N’Keal Harry, Brandon Aiyuk and Frank Darby are drafted, with Harry and Aiyuk selected in the first round.

“There was so much experience in the NFL and such insight that it was a tough opportunity to pass up when my goal in the end was to go into the NFL,” he said.

At six feet tall and 200 pounds, Johnson was best known for his ability to run on the road. It will tell you that it is just a game maker.

“I played running all the way through high school,” Johnson said. “So I think the best part of my game is once I get the ball in my hand, being able to get someone to make mistakes and break the tackles, those kinds of things.”

At the ever-popular ‘Deebo Samuel role’ mentioned, Johnson laughed and said he was happy to make use of his skills even though offensive coordinator Glenn Thomas saw fit. Like the rest of his teammates, Johnson will have to learn a new playbook in Thomas’ first year in Tempe, a practice he’s familiar with.

“I think I’m a smart footballer too,” Johnson said. “I’ve played under four offensive coordinators in four years and had success.”

Building a brand while making a difference

It’s no secret that the lack of zero deals in the Valley has driven players away from ASU. It looks like these tides may finally be turning. Recently, there is news about an athlete-supported NIL group at Arizona State University in the pipeline. Johnson saw the reports.

“Of course that’s cool, I’m glad to see it,” he said. This will definitely be something I want to get involved in. It’s just something I have to talk to (and my agent) about.”

Johnson was happy to provide a glimpse into the athletic side of the changing landscape of college athletics. He is currently represented by Don Bovia of Transition Sports and Entertainment, and the two have spent the past year building Johnson’s personal brand before embarking on the offensive on brand deals.

As an athlete, his goals align with most goals: to win the football game, get into the NFL and make a name for himself.

This last part is complicated, but a necessity in today’s climate. NIL’s opportunities are becoming more and more important to college football players, but Johnson uses his freedom to earn in a way to highlight his values ​​and make positive change. One of those ways is his status as an official ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society, donating half of the proceeds from sales of his branded T-shirts.

He said, “I said (to Bovia), ‘Hey, I want to be able to give someone back and not just make more money.'”

“I just fell in love with people with Down Syndrome[at a high school event]. I thought they were so cute and just felt an instant connection with them and the National Down Syndrome Association. And so that was always kind of on my mind to do something with them someday” .

He hopes that with a potential career in the NFL, he can start his own nonprofit for people with disabilities.

Transfer Gate problems aren’t the only reason ASU has been portrayed negatively in the national spotlight. The NCAA is still investigating potential recruitment violations within the Sun Devil program during the Covid-19 death period.

“It was definitely something that scared me a little bit,” Johnson said. “I only have two years left. So I hope it won’t be something that affects me while I’m there. But if it’s the case, I mean, the goal remains the same. We want to win. And I think no matter what penalties are passed, if it’s during my time, We can still get it done.”

for the fans

Arizona State University fans reacted positively to Johnson’s signature, as it’s a product that has proven to work against SEC talent. It was ironic, but funny, for Johnson when he realized he’d clashed with Vale fans before, albeit to no harm.

After all, there is a high reputation to be matched if your name is Cam Johnson and you are a Phoenix athlete.

“I played basketball when I was younger, and my Twitter account was @CamJohnson_23,” Johnson said. (Phoenix Suns forward Cam Johnson wears No. 23.)

he added. “And he doesn’t have Twitter, so the number of times I’ve tweeted, whether by crazy or happy fans, is crazy. So I started replying to people like me. It’s fun to see their reactions.”

Those same fans will have similar expectations to Johnson on Saturday.

Johnson has not visited Tempe yet, but plans to make the trip at the end of the month. He has spoken to a few of his teammates, including defensive end BJ Green and fellow transitional Emory Jones, along with several members of the coaching staff.

When he arrives, he plans to play the console and live stream some video games, something he plans to do to interact with ASU fans.

“If I’m a gamer, I’m probably the best college sports player,” he said.

Online, he can be found at twitch.com/CamJohnson_23. On the field, Johnson’s first glimpse of fall training will be made in late July. In the meantime, there are some relationship building processes that need to be done. Johnson did not develop with the team during spring training. For a team that has seen a lot of change, chemistry is a priority.

“I think if (my teammates) can trust me off the field just by doing things like hanging out and things like that, that leads directly to on-field success and a kind of confidence,” he said. “So by doing those two things, I think we’d be totally fine.”

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