McElwain: ‘Doesn’t look great’ for Florida Gators offensive tackle Roderick Johnson

By Adam Silverstein
April 12, 2015

The Florida Gators already incredibly thin offensive line was dealt a serious blow on April 3 when redshirt sophomore left tackle Roderick Johnson, the unit’s best returning player from a year ago, was ruled out indefinitely after suffering a stinger in practice.

Johnson was knocked out of action on last Friday when he got banged up in practice and noticed that his fingers were numb. Doctors that evaluated Johnson “found out there were some things that he might have had well before” the stinger, according to head coach Jim McElwain, and it was determined that further evaluation was needed.

On Saturday following Florida’s 2015 Orange & Blue Debut spring football game, McElwain sounded extremely pessimistic about Johnson’s prospects of playing this season – or possibly ever again.

“We actually should get the final [prognosis] on Monday. It doesn’t look great,” he said.

“I will never, ever put him out there in harm’s way. We’ve got a medical staff that looks at everything. We send the things all over the country to specialists. I’ll have more on that probably Monday. Life’s too short, man. I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to do it to a young guy.”

Pressed for specifics, McElwain would not provide any. He did not say on his own that Johnson’s injury was career-threatening, but he certainly did not rule out the possibility either.

“Every injury is [career-threatening], you know?” he quipped.

The Gators entered spring practice with eight scholarship linemen, seven of which were healthy enough to take the field. With Johnson out, Florida operated with just six bodies on scholarship during its spring game.

More important than the Gators’ numbers at offensive line, though, is Johnson’s health. A four-star recruit out of Delray Beach, Florida, Johnson took a redshirt in 2012 but impressed tremendously during his redshirt freshman campaign in 2013.

A favorite of offensive line coach Mike Summers, Johnson became Florida’s most experienced returning player at the position as five linemen (all of which started games last season) either graduated or decided to turn pro. He was seen as a sure-fire starter at left tackle, one of few positions the Gators believed they had locked down on offense entering the 2015 campaign.


  1. Michael Jones says:

    These two sentences reflect the kind of journalistic integrity I appreciate from a reporter (not sure if “reporter” is technically exactly what Adam is but you get my point).

    Very bummed to read about Johnson. 1st for him, and 2ndly for our football team. I am still hoping and wishing for the best.

  2. HeadOfficial says:

    “…Johnson was knocked out of action on Friday when he got banged up in practice and noticed that his fingers were number…”

    Were the numbers tattooed to his fingers or were they written on with a marker? Were the numbers in sequence so he could use them to solve math quizes?

    • Dave K says:

      HeadOfficial, this is so lame…finding a typo and making a stupid joke…this young man’s health is on the line and you joke around like it’s no big deal. Perhaps you could find it in your heart to apologize.

  3. senuod says:

    Sounds like it could be a pinched nerve due to an injury. Maybe in his back. That’s definitely something you don’t play with.

  4. Oldflyer says:

    Times have changed with the medical attention that athletes get. I had multiple “stingers” in high school and the repeated intense pain discouraged me from pursuing football further. But, no one noticed, nor would they have cared; and I just suffered the agony, which was short-lived, in silence. (The coach did see me take a play off once and joked “you look like you are about to cry”.) Times do change.

    Over the years, we periodically see players come out for a play or two with what was described as a “stinger”. Never considered that it might be career threatening once a player reached this level.

    Good luck young man.

  5. KB says:

    Injuries are a part of football but damn UF has had it’s share of not just injuries but these career ending ones. I hope this is not the case for Johnson but if it is it would seem to add to the list of offensive lineman that had their careers cut short at UF in recent memory with some before it ever got started. Octavius Jackson, Tommy Jordan, Nolan Kelleher, Drew Sarvary, and Johnson could make five in the past couple of years if I have not missed another name. Seems like very high numbers and all at OL position which strikes me a bit unusual. I don’t know how the medical history is reviewed or scrutinized in recruiting but I would like to know more about it. Is this just bad luck with the guys recruited on the OL or maybe something else like chances being taken on some guys because of numbers even though they had preexisting injuries coming out of high school? These from what I recall are legit and not the medical games some schools play for numbers reasons. I don’t follow other teams that closely but at one position group I can’t recall such a thing occurring within a few years time.