Former Ole Miss Rebel named Holmes CC defensive coordinator/linebackers coach


*Story by Steve Diffey with

Philadelphia native and former Ole Miss Rebel C.J. Johnson has joined the Holmes Community College Bulldog Football coaching staff as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.

Johnson comes to Holmes from Morton High School, where he served as assistant football coach. Prior to Morton, he was defensive coordinator at American Heritage (Delray), defensive line coach at Coffeyville Community College, defensive line coach at East Mississippi Community College and served as a graduate assistant at East Mississippi and Florida Atlantic University.

At East Mississippi, he helped the Lions win one national title and two state championships. At FAU, he helped the team claim the Conference USA championship under Lane Kiffin.

Prior to beginning his coaching career in 2016 with his initial EMCC stint, Johnson was a five-year letterman (2011-15) at Ole Miss, where he helped lead former head coach Hugh Freeze’s Rebel squads to four consecutive postseason bowl game appearances, including three bowl victories.  As a three-year defensive starter for the Rebels, Johnson recorded 180 career total tackles, 27 stops behind the line of scrimmage, including 13.5 sacks, 11 quarterback hurries, three pass interceptions, four fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.

As a sophomore starter at defensive end, Johnson was the Rebels’ sixth-leading tackler with 55 stops on the year, including a team-high 6.5 sacks, on the way to earning third-team All-SEC honors from College Sports Madness and honorable mention All-America status by College Football News.  After bouncing back from a medical redshirt season because of an ankle injury, Johnson served as a game captain for all 13 games as a junior when Ole Miss led the nation in scoring defense and topped the SEC in tackles for loss en route to playing in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.  Individually as a redshirt junior for the 9-4 Rebels, he ranked second on the team with four quarterback sacks and tied for third with eight tackles for loss.

Following a move to middle linebacker during spring practice of his senior year, Johnson was a preseason third-team All-SEC pick by Phil Steele and a member of the 2015 Butkus Award watch list.  Despite missing some game action with a torn meniscus, Johnson battled through the injury to record 43 total tackles, two quarterback sacks, two pass interceptions and four quarterback hurries as a starting member of the Rebels’ 10-3 squad that defeated Oklahoma State in the Sugar Bowl.

As a high school athlete, Johnson was named a U.S. Army, Parade, PrepStar and SuperPrep All-American. He was listed as the No. 1 player on the Clarion Ledger Top 10 Most Wanted List and a member of the Dandy Dozen by the newspaper. He was also named 3A Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-State by the Mississippi Association of Coaches as a senior and by the Clarion Ledger. He was listed No. 19 on the Mobile Press-Register Super Southeast 120, rated No. 1 player in Mississippi, the No. 2 inside linebacker in the nation and the No. 21 player overall in the country by, ranked the No. 4 middle linebacker and the No. 58 player in the nation by, ranked as the No. 9 middle linebacker in the nation by and rated the No. 5 player in Mississippi by SuperPrep. He was selected to the Orlando Sentinel All-Southern First Team.

He was named MVP of the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic as a senior. At Philadephia, he collected 149 tackles and had two INTs and helped lead the squad to 12-1 record and Class 3A state playoffs as a senior. He posted 151 tackles as a junior.

After college, he participated in the 2016 NFL Combine and was signed as a rookie free agent by the New England Patriots.

Johnson earned his undergraduate degree in criminal justice from Ole Miss. He is the son of the late Chris and Linda Edwards of Newton.

Johnson named Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach for the Bulldogs

Leave a Reply

We encourage open dialogue but if you disagree with someone, please disagree respectfully. Cruelty will not be tolerated. This is a family-friendly group.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *