Red-White Spring Game, 4/15

Former NFL player Keyshawn Johnson Sr. (left) talks with his son, wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson Jr. following the Red-White Spring Game on Saturday, April 15, 2017, at Memorial Stadium.

True freshman wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson Jr. is not currently with the Husker program, and isn't expected to be part of it through at least this fall, the Journal Star confirmed.

The news was first reported Tuesday evening by Nate Clouse of Husker Online.

A source close to the matter confirmed that report, which said Johnson Jr. will be taking "somewhat of a leave of absence" from the team with a potential opportunity to return in January if certain requirements are met. Johnson is already back in his native California.

"I want him to mature as a man, and if he wants it, football will always be there," his father, Keyshawn Johnson Sr., told Greg Biggins of Scout.com.

Keyshawn Sr. tweeted later Tuesday evening that "Sometimes you need to take a step back, before you can go forward."

Johnson Jr. was cited for possession of marijuana less than one ounce and possession of drug paraphernalia earlier this month.

Perhaps the most well-known recruit in the 2017 Husker recruiting class to the general fan due to his familiar name, Johnson was vocal as a peer recruiter and an early enrollee at Nebraska this past January.

He faced a health setback even before he arrived, having had an appendectomy in December that had lingering effects that kept him out half of spring ball. Even with NU largely unproven at the receiver position, playing as a true freshman was going to be a challenge.

The news only raises the stakes for true freshmen receivers like Jaevon McQuitty and Tyjon Lindsey to make an impact ... and perhaps early.

It is the second straight year Nebraska has had a true freshman receiver enroll early but not be part of the program in the fall. Last year Derrion Grim left after not feeling comfortable in Lincoln despite it seeming Grim was likely to play as a true freshman.

-- Brian Christopherson


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