One of Colorado’s best defensive wingers in recent years is returning.
Mustafa Johnson chose to skip his final season qualification and enter the NFL draft in January, and has been allowed to return to the CU. He resumed his roster on Wednesday, but is not yet eligible for the competition.
According to BuffZone sources, Johnson must be suspended, and CU has some obstacles that need to be cleared before he can qualify. According to sources, Johnson may make his debut this season in a game against Southern California at Folsom Stadium on October 2.
After announcing his participation in the draft, Johnson signed with an agent, but was not drafted and was unable to sign a free agent contract with the NFL team. He did accept a trial training with the New York Jets, but did not sign.
With one year of qualification left, Johnson can apply for a waiver from the NCAA, which will be officially restored this week. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he will use the NCAA to grant all players an extra year of qualifications, and this season he will receive a scholarship as a “super senior”.
As a 6-foot-2 defensive end with a weight of 290 pounds, Johnson was named the top 12 second team in the Pacific by the coach and the media in 2020. In five games in the regular season, he recorded 21 tackles, 2 sacks, and 6 tackle losses, adding three tackles and a sack against Texas at the Alamo Bowl for Buffs.
In 2018, Johnson, who came to CU from Modesto (California) Junior College, was selected for the All-Pac-12 first team. In his first year as Buff, he started all 12 games and completed 73 times. Tackles, 8.5 sacks, 18 steals and 16 quarterbacks in a hurry. His 73 steals that season is the most CU defensive winger since 1997, and his 18 TFL is the most of all CU players since 1993.
As the starter in all 27 games he played in the CU, Johnson tied for 14th (15) in his career tackles and tied for 20th (29) in his career tackles.
Johnson will add much-needed depth and experience to the young defensive line.
Terrence Long and Janaz Jordan as a junior, and Jaylen Sammy as a sophomore have starting experience, but Naeem Rodman as a sophomore is the only experienced defensive winger.
Junior Justin Jackson and freshman Blayne Toll provided some depth, while red-shirt freshman Jayden Simon and several other freshmen provided tackle depth.