Wisconsin safety Patrick Johnson leaves Badgers
University of Wisconsin safety Patrick Johnson has left the Badgers’ football team, per a UW official.
The news was first reported by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, which stated Johnson left for personal reasons.
“I really wish Pat the best,” UW defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Jim Leonhard said. “I liked him. I thought he had a bright future here at Wisconsin, and I really do wish him the best in whatever happens. I think it’s a little bit earlier to say what happens next for him, but I’m really rooting for him because I like the way he went about his business while he was a Badger.”
Johnson missed last week’s season-opening contest against Western Kentucky because of a head injury, and an arm injury limited him to just four games last season.
The redshirt sophomore was expected to be a second-team safety this season and potential replacement for starter D’Cota Dixon in 2019. Johnson played in 17 games for UW and recorded three tackles.
Johnson’s the second key departure for the Badgers’ secondary within the last week, as cornerback Dontye Carriere-Williams announced his intentions to transfer Wednesday night.
Johnson’s absence leaves sophomore Eric Burrell and true freshman Reggie Pearson as UW’s second-team safeties behind Dixon and redshirt freshman Scott Nelson. Pearson (left leg) is questionable to play Saturday against New Mexico.
“I think anytime you are young, it’s tough when you’re missing guys, but I like the way this group works,” Leonhard said. “We’re going to continue to get better throughout the course of the year. They’ve seen the last couple years, the guys that have been here, that happens every single year, is guys have to step up.
“It goes back to that approach that I really like with the group, is they don’t really pay attention to where they’re at depth chart-wise. They just play and get better. They go out to practice with a purpose, and that’s not always the case with young guys.”