Lennard High’s Diontae Johnson, the MAC Special Teams Player of the Year, was drafted 66th overall by the Steelers on Friday night. But he almost became a Buccaneer, according to Steelers receivers coach Darryl Drake.
New Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians also coveted Johnson.
“I know for a fact that Tampa Bay was going to take him with their next pick. I got cussed out by Tampa Bay’s head coach who called us some names for taking him. That was his guy,” Drake said.
Johnson, a 1,000-yard receiver in his final year of high school, turned in his most prolific college season in 2017. As a redshirt sophomore, Johnson had 74 receptions for a school-record 1,278 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Johnson, who ran a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash at the combine, averaged 25.8 yards on kick returns this past season, and had one kick return TD as well as a punt return score.
“He’s an exciting football player. He can stop and start, and he can make people miss in open space,” Drake said of Johnson. “That was really one of the most intriguing things about him. But his personality, his desire and his want to ... you know I’ve been doing this for 40 years and he was one of the best interviews and guys that I’ve been around in a long time.”