Bisi Johnson remains confident as NFL Draft approaches

Olabisi Johnson is used to defying the odds. Making an NFL roster is just another opportunity to prove his doubters wrong.

Listed at 6’0”, 203 pounds, Johnson’s size has never jumped off the paper. But what Johnson lacks in size, he makes up for in competitiveness and work ethic. Similarly to Adam Thielen of the Minnesota Vikings, a player who Johnson hopes to emulate, the key to Johnson’s success has always been his ability to outwork everyone around him.  

Coming out of Bear Creek High School in Lakewood, Colorado, Johnson wasn’t even sure if he was still going to have a scholarship at Colorado State University. After watching the coach that recruited him, Jim McElwain, bolt for the University of Florida, Johnson’s football career was potentially in jeopardy.

After discovering that Mike Bobo was going to honor his scholarship offer, Johnson showed up on campus in the summer of 2015. It didn’t take him long to prove that he belonged. Johnson quickly earned the respect of his teammates and coaches in practice. And in his first collegiate game, Johnson was able to take a screen pass from Nick Stevens for a 13-yard touchdown.

It was in the spring of 2016 when Johnson really started to stand out, though. Bobo regularly praised the young wide receiver to the media and explained that Johnson was given the nickname, “the standard”, for his effort. Whether on special teams, blocking for his running backs or in the weight room - Johnson was always willing to go the extra mile.

Over the next three seasons, Johnson would total 123 receptions for 2,004 yards and 10 touchdowns. In the 2016 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, a game that he still refers to as his greatest moment with the Rams, Johnson set a single-game program record with 265 receiving yards on seven catches. In the 61-50 loss to Idaho, Johnson hauled in a pair of touchdown receptions of 52 and 73 yards, respectively.

“Even though we lost the game, I had a lot of fun,” Johnson said in a recent interview with Rams Report.

Although he didn’t get much of an opportunity to in 2018, due to CSU finishing the season 3-9 and closing the year with five consecutive losses, Johnson seemed to always perform well in the biggest moments. Along with his record-setting performance in the Potato Bowl, Johnson had six receptions and 91 yards against Colorado in his junior season (2017). Later that season, he had six receptions for 119 yards in the New Mexico Bowl as well. Finally, in 2018, Johnson finished with six receptions for 157 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener against Hawai’i and also had a touchdown in the Rocky Mountain Showdown.

Olabisi Johnson prepares for his final Rocky Mountain Showdown as a Ram.   PHOTO:   Ryan Greene | @RyanCBS4

Olabisi Johnson prepares for his final Rocky Mountain Showdown as a Ram. PHOTO: Ryan Greene | @RyanCBS4

Following his senior season, Johnson was invited to participate in both the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and NFL Combine - both of which were events that he performed well at.  At the Combine in Indianapolis, IN., Johnson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds and had a recorded vertical of 38 inches.

“I knew I was going to go out there and impress the guys, there was no doubt in mind about that, so I just proved that I can go out there and run routes,” Johnson said after CSU’s Pro Day in March.

Johnson joked that like all wide receivers, he wishes he could have recorded a slightly faster 40 time, but his performance was definitely something he was proud of. More importantly, though, the former BCHS standout was able to start developing a relationship with NFL scouts.  Johnson spoke to the importance of this after Pro Day as well.

“They probably had heard of me, but I come from a non-Power 5 school and it’s tough to get recruited into the NFL when you come from those kinds of schools and stuff,” Johnson said. ”So, getting an opportunity to go to the Combine was a huge opportunity for me - it was a dream come true.”

Since his Pro Day, Johnson has been working with Rams quarterback Collin Hill and head strength & conditioning coach Joey Guarascio - but at this point, Johnson knows he is going to get an opportunity in the league and is comfortable with his situation. Obviously getting drafted would be an excellent reward for his hard work, but even if his name isn’t called this weekend, Johnson knows that he will be in an NFL camp this summer.

“Being drafted in the fourth round sounds pretty good, though,” Johnson said.

The NFL Draft takes place April 25-27 in Nashville, Tennessee, and will be televised on ESPN. Former CSU players, Preston Williams (WR), Josh Watson (LB) and Bisi Johnson (WR) are all projected to land on NFL rosters, either through the draft or signing as UDFAs.