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When ‘physically, mentally ready,’ door wide open for Keyshawn Johnson Jr.’s return to Nebraska

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Keyshawn Johnson Jr. has yet to play a down for Nebraska, but, if it’s up to Mike Riley, he will at some point down the road.

Earlier this month, the son of former USC great Keyshawn Johnson was cited for marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.  This past week, the younger Johnson decided to take a leave of absence, with his father stating that his son needed some time to “mature” and will not play for the Cornhuskers in 2017.

Left open at the time was the question of whether Johnson Jr. would ever play for the ‘Huskers, period.  Friday, Riley left the door wide open for a return.

“We’re disappointed that he’s not here with us right now today,” the head coach said according to the Lincoln Journal-Star. “I think there’s kind of a wellness factor for Keyshawn going home. We talked to him about the possibility of maybe enrolling part time and taking care of his progress toward his degree, and also getting in great shape.

“And we opened the door for return, which is just kind of left open that we’ll deal with at the time that he is physically and mentally ready to do that.”

A three-star 2017 signee who was an early enrollee and participated in spring practice, the younger Johnson had been expected to be an immediate contributor for the Cornhuskers this season.

Nebraska linebacker Greg Simmons leaves the Huskers

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It has been a busy day for Nebraska football news here at College Football Talk, but here’s one more story to fill your plate. Redshirt freshman linebacker Greg Simmons is no longer with the Nebraska program, according to reports.

Sean Callahan of Huskers Online reported Simmons has left the football team, as confirmed by a Nebraska spokesperson. No reason for his departure was given.

Simmons did not play for Nebraska in 2016, in part due to a neck injury suffered in fall camp. After the spring practice season, Simmons was buried on the depth chart. Simmons was a three-star member of Nebraska’s Class of 2016 and chose the Huskers over offers from schools like Louisville, Kentucky, Maryland, Miami, among others.

As of now, there is no indication where the Florida native will head next. Should he transfer to another FBS program, he will be required to sit out the 2017 season even though he did not play a down for the Huskers in 2016. However, if he transfers to a lower division program beneath the FBS ranks, he will be eligible to play right away in the fall. Simmons has three years of eligibility remaining after burning a redshirt season in 2016.

‘Personal reasons’ trigger Nebraska coaching staff shuffling

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With a little over a month until summer camp kicks off, Mike Riley has been forced to tweak his Nebraska coaching staff.

The Cornhuskers announced that, because of unspecified personal reasons, Bob Elliott will not be able to perform his on-field duties as safeties coach for the Cornhuskers.  Instead, he’ll slide into an off-field role as a defensive analyst.

With the 63-year-old Elliott out, NU announced the promotion of the recently-hired Scott Booker to take his place.  In addition to his duties as safeties coach, Booker will also serve as special teams coach for the Cornhuskers.

Booker has spent 14 years of his coaching career at the FBS level, most recently at Notre Dame from 2010-16.  The last five years, Booker held titles of special teams coordinator and tight ends coach.  In March, he was hired by Riley as a special teams consultant.

Elliott, who beat a rare form of blood cancer nearly two decades ago and had to receive a kidney transplant earlier this decade, was hired in February.

“We are sorry to see Bob Elliott leave our full-time on-field staff,” Riley said in a statement. “Bob is a wonderful man and a great football coach and he has built a great rapport with our staff and the players in our program. We respect Bob’s decision and we are confident that he will continue to have a positive impact on our program. …

“It’s an unusual time to make a coaching hire. But we are fortunate that Scott worked with our staff this past spring and brings great experience and energy to our program. We are confident that he will add to our program as a coach, teacher and recruiter.”

Keyshawn Johnson Jr. not part of Nebraska team ‘right now,’ will take time off to ‘mature’ per dad

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This is certainly an interesting development.

Nearly two weeks ago, Keyshawn Johnson Jr. was cited for marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Friday, Rivals.com is reporting behind its paywall, the wide receiver is not currently a part of the Nebraska football team.

From KETV.com‘s detailing of the report from HuskerOnline.com‘s Nate Clouse:

I’m told that Johnson Jr. will be taking somewhat of a leave of absence from the team right now, but the door is open for his return next January, assuming he has taken care of a few requirements prior to that time,” Clouse wrote.

According to Clouse, Johnson has returned to Los Angeles and will likely take classes online or at a junior college in the fall.

Johnson’s father, former USC All-American wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, subsequently confirmed to the Omaha World-Herald that his son is indeed taking a leave of absence in order to “mature” and will not play in 2018

Thus far, the football program has declined to discuss Johnson’s status with the team moving forward.

A three-star 2017 signee who was an early enrollee and participated in spring practice, the younger Johnson had been expected to be an immediate contributor for the Cornhuskers this season.

Nebraska’s Keyshawn Johnson Jr. cited for marijuana possession

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Nebraska wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson Jr. found himself in some legal trouble this weekend. Johnson was cited for marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia on Friday.

“Head coach Mike Riley and the athletics department are aware of the incident involving Keyshawn Johnson Jr,” a statement from Nebraska said. “We will have no additional comment until we have all information regarding this matter.”

The Omaha World-Herald reports Johnson Jr. was cited for possession of one ounce of marijuana. The citation was issued in a Nebraska dorm hall on Friday afternoon. No others were cited.

Johnson Jr. was an early enrollee at Nebraska this past spring and was able to play in the spring game in Lincoln. He is expected to contribute right away for the Cornhuskers this fall.

As the name suggests, Johnson Jr. is the son of former USC and NFL wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson. The elder Johnson is currently an analyst for ESPN. Johnson played at USC under current Nebraska head coach Mike Riley. Riley was USC’s offensive coordinator from 1993 through 1996 before becoming the head coach at Oregon State (for the first of two times) in 1997.