MURRELL COLUMN: Roschon’s commitment paying off early

Published 3:54 pm Friday, January 18, 2019

It didn’t matter that Charlie Strong was fired from the University of Texas after the 2016 season. Roschon Johnson had already bought into the brand, the program and the campus.

Texas, for many in the Lone Star State, is a dream school, one that only needs to bear the name of the state to evoke its longstanding brand and rich history. No coaching hire or quarterback pool was going to be bigger than the Texas brand or too much for Johnson to handle.

So, he stayed consistent on his decision. He didn’t budge.

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He handled his business at Port Neches-Groves. He won three district MVP honors and three Port Arthur News Super Team MVP awards. He finished early and is now in Austin.

His reward was moving up the quarterback chart before spring camp. It’s an early sign of greatness, with more to achieve, of course.

Johnson’s commitment is winning amid a burgeoning era of free agency in college football. The idea of players going from one program to another, to be clear, is nothing new, let alone transferring after earning a degree.

Be forewarned: If Johnson continues to master the books, he’ll face the decision of being either a college football free agent, remaining a Longhorn or going pro come 2022. But rest assured, it’s a great problem to have, albeit one that leaves a fan base in suspense.

Jalen Hurts earned that right, and his move from Alabama to Oklahoma is as seismic in the college football landscape as Kevin Durant’s from Oklahoma City to Golden State in the NBA.

The other side of the transfer token is leaving because it is (or seems) the best thing to do at that time. Shane Buechele has entered the NCAA’s transfer portal and Cameron Rising has left.

Both were Texas quarterbacks.

See, don’t be so old school to think that either one simply gave up on the program or left it hanging. These guys did finish the season, you know? Neither pulled a Kelly Bryant and got a head start on the season ahead.

Then again, who are we to blame Bryant for leaving Clemson and missing out on winning a national championship to improve draft stock at Missouri? There’s plenty of coin to be made in the NFL if a player is willing to do what it takes to earn it — college education or not.

For now, let’s let Johnson enjoy college. Let him put in more work on the field and in the classroom. And give Hurts credit for setting an example.

Locals should live in bliss over what Johnson has done. He put in the prep work at PNG. He finished the prep work. He was the only quarterback to sign with Texas in December. The only one.

Texas is down to two-year letterman Sam Ehlinger and two inexperienced freshmen in Casey Thompson and Tremayne Prudhomme. Johnson has just as good a chance as Thompson and Prudhomme to move up closer to Ehlinger.

Don’t be mad at Buechele or Rising for leaving. If you’re a fan of Johnson, thank them.

Transferring isn’t so bad. But for a young man from Port Neches, fulfilling a commitment has its rewards. And that young man is just beginning.

I.C. Murrell can be reached at 721-2435 or at On Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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