‘Chance to do something special’ is why Thomas Johnston picked UAB over SEC offers


For three-star linebacker Thomas Johnston, it is truly all about family. That’s why Johnston said no to playing in the SEC and said yes to joining his brother at UAB, which is resurrecting its program this fall after two seasons of no football

“I’ve prayed about it for the last couple of months,” Johnston told GN. “Me and my brother grew up dreaming about playing college ball together. Whenever I’m on the field with my brother and he’s our quarterback, I feel like I have a high chance of winning the game. I want to feel comfortable in college, and with him at quarterback I feel highly comfortable.”

Johnston (6 feet 2, 215 pounds), from Spanish Fort (Ala.) High, is among the top-25 outside linebacker prospects in the country.

Johnston’s brother, Tyler, is a quarterback at UAB.

“When I was in eighth grade, I wanted to go to Ole Miss because they were one of the worst teams in the SEC and I wanted to go there a be a difference-maker,” Johnston said. “I wanted to help out the program and get it back on top.

“Now I see that opportunity at UAB. … No one knows what could happen next year. So I just want to go in there and work my butt off and push my teammates. I feel like we have a chance to do something special in Birmingham.”

Johnston’s decision to join his brother at UAB was surprising to many because of his other choices. He was offered by Arkansas, Auburn, Ole Miss, Iowa and many more.

“Honestly, I was worried I was going to get hated on for a little while,” Johnston said in regard to his surprising decision. “But I haven’t had many negative things said about it.

“I’ve gotten well-wishes from Arkansas, Auburn, Ole Miss and Iowa fans. Just wishing me good luck and congratulations. It’s been awesome.”

So, what did Johnston’s family say when he told them his decision?

“They were super-excited,” he said. “They want the best for me. They know God’s putting me in Birmingham with my brother, so they couldn’t be happier.”

(You can follow Ryan Green on Twitter @RyanGreenGN)

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