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James Johnson quits Tech football team.


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James Johnson quits Tech football team

Receiving veteran was coming off injury-plagued season

By MIKE KNOBLER

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 04/02/08

James Johnson, one of the top 20 pass-catchers in Georgia Tech history, has left the Yellow Jackets football team one week into spring practice.

Johnson sat out a scrimmage on Saturday because of tendinitis in his knee, the same ailment he struggled with for much of an injury-filled junior season in which he started only nine of Tech's 13 games and sat out one entirely.

"He quit one time before, and I talked him into coming back," Tech coach Paul Johnson said Wednesday. "[The first time, before spring practice started,] he was just tired of football."

James Johnson didn't talk to the head coach this time, but he did talk with receivers coach Buzz Preston.

"He just felt it was time to move on with his life," Preston said. "I told him I wish him well. It's nothing personal. I would have loved to have the opportunity to coach him for a while. You know what, you've got to do what you've got to do."

James Johnson did not return an e-mail on Wednesday, and a call to his phone went unanswered.

His departure, the transfers of Colin Peek and D.J. Donley and the loss of three players who exhausted their eligibility leaves Tech without six of its top nine pass-catchers from 2007. That, combined with Greg Smith's move to A-back, has left Tech with freshman Tyler Melton and walk-ons behind sophomores Demaryius Thomas and Correy Earls.

James Johnson ranks 13th in Tech history with nine touchdown receptions, 15th in Tech history with 1,240 yards receiving and 17th in Tech history with 78 catches. But his productivity dropped last season because of hamstring, knee, rib and neck injuries. He finished with 25 catches for 447 yards, 14 catches and 161 yards below his sophomore totals.

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