USC senior RB Stafon Johnson, who has missed most of this season following a freak weightlifting accident, will not apply for a medical hardship and will turn pro, according to his uncle. Kregg Anderson said Johnson has notified USC coach Pete Carroll of the decision.
Johnson could have petitioned the NCAA for another year of eligibility because of his injury. He instead opted for the NFL and has begun training in suburban Los Angeles.
Anderson said Johnson’s weight is up to 214 pounds after dipping to 188 following the accident in which he dropped a barbell on his throat while bench pressing. Johnson’s playing weight was around 220.
In Johnson’s initial public comments in a press conference last month, he raspily said: “God has a plan. Run, Stafon, run.”
Anderson said Johnson’s immediate goal is to earn an invitation to the Jan. 30 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., so he can prove to NFL teams he is healthy and can take the physical wear of playing football again.