Football

Matt Johnson set records with Dino Babers at Bowling Green. Now, he joins Babers at Syracuse as a coach

Former Bowling Green quarterback Matt Johnson, who set records under then-BGSU and current SU head coach Dino Babers, will become an offensive quality control coach at Syracuse, he announced on Instagram Sunday night.

“Today is very bitter sweet,” Johnson wrote. “After playing ball for 16 years of my life, today I decided to step away from playing the game of football. I never wanted it to stop and I never wanted injury to be the reason. But I am a true believer in everything happens for a reason. My football days are far from over as I will be accepting a Offensive Quality Control position at Syracuse University. I am truly thankful for the people that helped me along my career. And to my brothers and best friends, thank you for everything I love you guys. I love this game and will FOREVER be grateful for the opportunities it has blessed me with. Thank you for always supporting me. 🏹🏹🏹 #BOWnARROW #11”

As a redshirt sophomore in 2013, Johnson passed for 3,467 yards and 25 touchdowns. Then Babers arrived the next season. But in the first game, Johnson broke his hip against Western Kentucky and missed the entire year. In 2015, as a senior under Babers, Johnson completed 383 passes of 569 passes for 4,946 yards, a Mid-American Conference single-season record. He also tossed 46 touchdowns to eight interceptions. Multiple NFL Draft sites were high on Johnson and thought he had the bonafides to make it as a signal-caller in the league.

“A player with prototypical flaws that in theory hold him back,” wrote Pro Football Focus about his 5-foot-11 height, “but with enough big-time throws on film that set him up with potential to make something special happen in the NFL.”

The Bishop McDevitt (Pennsylvania) High School native went undrafted in April 2016 but was invited by Cincinnati to rookie minicamp in early May. He spent two weeks on the 90-man roster there before the Bengals cut him. He became the quarterbacks coach at his high school that fall, threw to NFL Draft hopefuls at Alabama’s Pro Day this spring and then, in April, signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League.

 

Hamilton released Johnson on June 12. Coaching, wrote PennLive.com in 2016, had always been Johnson’s long-term goal and after being cut in the NFL and CFL, he ultimately turned to the sideline. Thirteen days after Hamilton’s release, he made his position at SU official.

Johnson joins two other Syracuse quality control coaches, Adam Gristick (defense) and Jeff LePak (special teams).

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