C.J. Johnson hasn't even participated in his first official practice for the Ole Miss team he signed with in February, but he's already made quite the name for himself when it comes to social media ... the kind of name Rebel compliance officials would rather he'd shunned.
Johnson caused a major stir this weekend when Sports by Brooks published a screencap of a handful of sexually graphic, profane tweets from his Twitter account (that link is here, and is safe-for-work image-wise, but please be advised of some NC17-rated language). Not surprisingly, it wasn't long before Johnson had a talk with Ole Miss officials, with predictable results:
The incoming freshman linebacker deleted his Twitter account "after speaking with our staff," Ole Miss spokesman Kyle Campbell said Monday.Of course, you didn't, Jamil. We're sure you just discussed the weather and local politics and calmly asked oh-by-the-way could you not tweet racially-charged obscenities over your nationally-monitored public account, please and thanks? That'd be swell.
Ole Miss officials said Monday they did not force Johnson, who was considered Mississippi's top prospect last season after starring at Philadelphia High School, to delete his account.
"That's something he did on his own," said Jamil Northcutt, associate athletics director for internal operations. "That was in his best interest to do that. I never had any conversations about him taking this down or anything like that."
To be fair, Johnson's tweets might have gone unnoticed if he hadn't already had a high-profile run-in with social media back in the spring, when Johnson decommitted from Mississippi State and pledged to the Rebels. As way of explanation, he blamed Facebook-stalking Mississippi State fans for spreading accusations about his mother and making his recruitment "a living nightmare."
To also be fair to the Ole Miss officials trying to put the fire out before it spreads any farther, the Rebels have social media policies in place and will offer "social media training" to all incoming athletes, football players included; part of that training will be signing the policy agreement, violations of which could result in suspensions.
The only problem?
The training takes place at the beginning of fall semester, rather than in the summer.
So it's too late to keep this particular cat in the bag. But as long as Johnson keeps his social media missteps to two rather than three, his play on the field this fall -- where the five-star linebacker could make an immediate impact for the LB-starved Rebels -- will eventually become the bigger headline.