If Ja'Varrius Johnson 'should have been more productive,' what does that mean for 2022?
Bryan Harsin and his staff managed to pull Ja'Varrius Johnson back out of the portal this offseason. The next step is to fully unlock his big-play potential.
WR Ja’Varrius Johnson (Todd Van Emst/Auburn Athletics)
One of the most interesting quotes from Bryan Harsin during spring practices came after the very first one.
Harsin was asked about Ja’Varrius Johnson, the wide receiver who entered the transfer portal in February but decided to return to the program before spring ball.
(It’s worth noting that Johnson’s entrance into the transfer portal was the last major piece of negative news before news broke of Auburn’s internal investigation into Harsin. Now both Harsin and Johnson are back for the 2022 season.)
“Var was very productive last year,” Harsin said in mid-March. “Should have been more productive, and could have been. Could have been more productive. Should have been. That's not his fault — we're a part of that as a coaching staff. We have to help our players out.”
It was some real honesty from Harsin involving a player who contemplated leaving the Plains but ultimately decided to return to the program.
And Harsin was right about Johnson’s production, even though he had only 19 catches for 274 yards and two touchdowns as a redshirt sophomore in 2021. Dig deeper into the numbers, and Johnson’s value to a team that lost top receiver Kobe Hudson and No. 3 wideout Demetris Robertson this offseason really stands out.