DL Brett Johnson to Miss 2021 Season
Cal will be without arguably their top defensive player for the 2021 season, as defensive lineman Brett Johnson was announced to be out for the year due to the recovery from a broken hip. Johnson sustained the injury in an automobile accident, and was ruled out after undergoing surgery to repair the damage. He is expected to make a full recovery and will have three years of eligibility when he returns in 2022.
"While we will certainly miss Brett on the field this coming season, the most important thing right now is that he focus on his overall health and well-being," head coach Justin Wilcox said in a release. "As his teammates and coaches, we will help him through this difficult time. When he is ready to return to the field, we will welcome him with open arms."
"I appreciate all of the support I have received from my family, friends, teammates, coaches and so many others since the accident," Johnson said in the release. "I am looking forward to making a full recovery and getting back on the field in 2022."
Johnson had played in every game over the last two seasons, recording 46 tackles, 6 TFLs, 3 sacks, 1 PBU, and 1 fumble recovery over the 17 games. He has started 13 of those games, mainly playing at the nose guard position for the Bears. 2021 was set to be his time to move to a more natural defensive end position.
Unlike a year ago, Cal will have depth on the defensive line who can step in for Johnson, both inside and out. Stanley McKenzie and Ricky Correia are both healthy and can play the nose guard spot that Johnson manned the last two seasons, while Ethan Saunders, Jaedon Roberts, Derek Wilkins, Myles Williams and Akili Calhoun have all been recruited to play the defensive end spot, something they'll have to do opposite of JH Tevis. In addition, Gabe Cherry pulled himself out of the transfer portal, but he hasn't been announced as back on the roster as of this point.
Over the past two seasons, Johnson has graded out as one of the Bears top defenders, even playing out of position. His absence leaves a big hole for the Bears that young talent will have to fill moving forward.