Crucial decision awaits UCF senior linebacker Jason Johnson

University of California, San Francisco defender Jason Johnson There is a big decision to make.

seniors who start every game Knights He could return to his final year of eligibility when UCF plays its first season in the Big 12 in 2023.

“I still have a year, but I [have] Haven’t decided what I’m going to do,” Johnson said.

The Eastern Illinois transfer has been an integral part of UCF’s defense this season. Johnson (114) earned All-AAC first-team honors, finished second in the league and led the Cavaliers in total tackles.

The jump from FCS to FBS doesn’t seem like a challenge for Johnson, who has more than twice as many tackles as any other UCF player.

UCF linebacker Jason Johnson (15) leads the Cavs this season with 114 tackles. He can come back next year if he wants.

“It’s been a great year,” he said. “I did what I wanted to do. A lot of people thought I wouldn’t do it, but I did. For those who believed in me, I’m grateful for them.”

One coaching change that could affect Johnson’s decision to return next year is the departure of UCF defensive coordinator Travis Williams, Who plays the same role in Arkansas.

Williams, who also served as UCF linebackers coach, was replaced by addison williamspreviously served as the team’s assistant head coach and defensive backs coach.

Cavaliers hire former South Florida combined defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Ernie Sims coaches linebacker in Orlando.

“I still love the coach [Travis Williams]Johnson said. “He’s a great coach, best of luck to him at Arkansas.” Coach Addison, he’s a great coach too, so we should get straight to the point. “

Not only has Johnson completed a ton of tackles for the Cavaliers this season, but he’s also been a key leader in the locker room.

He helped train young linebackers like freshman Cam Moore, who played in eight games and started once in the regular season against Tulane.

“He’s a really smart player,” Johnson said of Moore. “He’s seen it from day one, so he’s going to be really good in the future.”

Before Johnson makes a decision on next season, his goal is to help the Cavaliers win their 10th game of the season over Duke in Wednesday’s Military Bowl.

When the Cavaliers play Duke, he’ll notice a familiar face on the sideline. After three seasons at Eastern Illinois, Johnson entered the transfer portal after his head coach, Adam Cushing, accepted the position of running coordinator and offensive line coach with the Blue Devils.

Johnson isn’t overthinking opponents or bowl games.

“Every game is a new opportunity, so it doesn’t matter which bowl game we’re in,” he said. “We just have to get in and win. We can get 10 wins.”

Email Jason Beede at jbeede@orlandosentinel.com or follow him on Twitter @therealBeede.