Despite earning Sugar Bowl MVP honors and leading the Utah Utes to a 13-0 record and a No. 2 national ranking, quarterback Brian Johnson didn't have his name called in last weekend's National Football League Draft.
That changed on Monday when he was contacted by the Green Bay Packers. Johnson will participate in the team's mini-camp later this week.
"I'm excited," he said. "All this time I just wanted an opportunity."
The Packers, Johnson noted, provide a good situation to showcase his talents. They didn't sign any other free agent quarterbacks, nor did they draft one.
"So I'm looking forward to getting a lot of reps and show what I can do," said Johnson, who declared himself healthy and ready to go.
Johnson concluded his collegiate career as Utah's career leader in wins by a starting quarterback (26) and completions (673).The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Texan threw for 7,853 yards and 57 touchdowns over four seasons. He rushed for 848 yards and 12 scores.
The impressive numbers, though, weren't enough to get Johnson an earlier call from the NFL.
"Everybody wants to get drafted," Johnson said. "For whatever reason it becomes a little frustrating because you don't understand the complete process or entirely what they're looking for in somebody they want to draft."
The slight, however, has become a positive.
"I will definitely use that as motivation — go out there and play everyday," Johnson said. "For every first-round pick, there's a guy that was an undrafted free agent or late-round pick that showed up and had a great career in the NFL. So that's encouraging from that standpoint."
Johnson is one of four former Utes to secure camp invitations as undrafted free agents. Wide receiver Brent Casteel inked a deal with the Cleveland Browns, while kicker/punter Louie Sakoda received an offer to attend the San Diego Chargers' mini-camp. Wide receiver Bradon Godfrey is headed to the Buffalo Bills.
Utah had four players taken in the draft. Defensive end Paul Kruger (Baltimore Ravens) and cornerback Sean Smith (Miami Dolphins) were second-round selections. Cornerback Brice McCain (Houston Texans) and wide receiver Freddie Brown (Cincinnati Bengals) went in the sixth and seventh rounds, respectively.
SOUTHERN UTAH: Two former SUU players signed free agent contracts with NFL teams Sunday following the league's annual draft. Wide receiver Nick Miller and cornerback DeWayne Lewis signed with the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars, respectively. Both players came to the attention of NFL scouts when they Both ran sub-4.3 40-yard dashes at BYU's pro day in March. Lewis will report to Jaguar mini-camp Thursday, while Miller's camp at Oakland begins May 6.