PROVO — From the moment BYU cornerback Trent Trammell went down with a season-ending knee injury on the first day of spring ball in March, Jordan Johnson was there — consoling him, helping him, encouraging him.
At the time, of course, Johnson had no idea that he would suffer the same cruel fate in August, when he also suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Now, there’s an unbreakable bond of empathy between the pair of defensive backs, who happen to be roommates.
Like Trammell, Johnson tore his anterior cruciate ligament. Like Trammell, the injury occurred in a non-contact situation — Johnson’s took place while he was returning a kickoff last week in fall camp.
Just as Johnson supported Trammell through his ordeal, Trammell, a junior college transfer, is returning the favor.
“That’s my guy right there. He’s been helping me out,” Johnson said of Trammell. “He’s been helping me up the stairs. He’s always at the house, looking out for me and whatnot. It went hand in hand. When he was going through his trials and tribulations with his knee, I was there for him. It’s been cool. Trent’s redshirting, so I look at it like: We’re both going to come back for 2014 stronger than ever.”
“They’re going through it together,” said senior safety Daniel Sorensen. “Trent’s a hard worker. He’s in early every morning and gets his workout done. It will be good for Jordan, for both of them to work together in getting healthy.”
Because Johnson redshirted in 2010, his injury will force him to lose a year of eligibility. That means he’ll have just one season left as a Cougar. He’ll be a senior in 2014.
While Johnson was devastated to learn he would be sidelined for the entire 2013 campaign, looking ahead is what keeps him going.
“That’s all I have to look forward to — rehabbing and knowing that I have another year,” Johnson said. “That’s what’s helping me right now.”
Johnson, who started 12 games last season, said he has never missed a game due to injury in his life.
“It’s going to be really tough,” he said of the prospect of watching games from the sideline. “Everything happens for a reason. It’s not going to slow me down. I’ll be stronger and come back for my senior year and be ready.”
When Johnson’s injury first happened, he didn’t know its severity.
“I got right back up and started backpedaling and jogging, making sure that everything was OK,” he said. “I knew I had strained or tweaked it. But by no means did I think that I tore (an ACL). Once I got up and backpedaled, (the trainers) told me to lay down and they did the test. Then they carted me. I got the MRI and I got the news. By no means did I think I was done.”
That news was shocking, and difficult, for his teammates to hear, too.
“It’s really tough, with all of the hard work Jordan put in during the offseason,” Sorensen said. “He’s been our guy for the last two years. He plays right next to me. He’s on my side. I’m giving him the signals on the field. We’re communicating and talking. He’s my wingman. He’s my right-hand man. He helps me out a ton. It’s always comforting to see Jordan manned up out there. We know he’s got it. I feel bad for it. I hope he has a quick recovery.”
As of Monday Johnson had not undergone surgery on his knee, but he was determined to do everything he needs to do to recover fully.
“I’m going to take this whole year to rehab and get better than before I got hurt,” Johnson said. “It could be nine months. I’ll take all of the time needed.”
Losing Johnson was a crushing blow to BYU’s secondary. However, Johnson is confident that his teammates will be able to fill that void with players like junior college transfer Robertson Daniel, freshman Dallin Leavitt and freshman Michael Davis, who was switched from wide receiver to cornerback last week.
“We’re going to be fine,” Johnson said. “It’s a part of the game. Everybody gets hurt. It’s unfortunate, but somebody will come in and fill in for me.”
What about Davis, who intercepted quarterback Taysom Hill in Monday’s practice?
“He has caught my eye. Nobody’s going to run past that man,” Johnson said of Davis. “He’s going to run stride for stride with everybody. He’ll be pretty good for us.”
Johnson said he’ll remain close to the team this season, but as of yet he doesn’t have a particular role. But he said he’s willing to help out any way he can.
“I’m always here. I’m just in the training room now,” Johnson said. “In time, they’ll give me my role. I’m not in a rush. If they need me to help them, I’ll help them. I’m there for them.”
Johnson is there for them, just like he was there for Trammell when Trammell suffered his season-ending knee injury. Just as Trammell is there for Johnson now.
And if all goes according to plan, Johnson and Trammell, bonded together through the crucible of similar adversities, will be playing together on the field next fall in BYU’s defensive backfield.
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company