The author of some of the most memorable plays in Georgia Tech’s recent history, former Georgia Tech All-American Michael Johnson will create one more Saturday when he participates in graduation ceremonies at McCamish Pavilion.
Johnson, who signed a four-year, $20 million contract with Cincinnati in March, has returned to campus the last three offseasons to complete his business administration degree. He is one of four former Tech football players who played in the NFL who will graduate Saturday, the others being James Butler, Mike Cox and Will Heller.
“I was talking to Joe Hamilton and said that I probably wouldn’t walk because I’m busy,” Johnson said in an interview with Tech’s letterwinners association. “He told me that I had to walk across that stage and shake the president’s hand, which will be one of the proudest moments of my life. He said that regardless of the big contacts you sign, not many people can say that they’ve been able to play at this level and get that degree. That’s special.”
Johnson completed his Tech career in 2008, when he was named an All-American after finishing the season with nine sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss.
Johnson has played six seasons in the NFL and earned an estimated $23.7 million even prior to signing with the Bengals this offseason, according to Spotrac. The motivation to earn his degree would seem purely personal.
“There’s a reason that one in six graduates is a millionaire,” Johnson said. “It means a lot to be able to have that network. There’s a big difference in just going here and actually graduating. You went through the fire and are part of an elite fraternity.”