JACKSONVILLE, FLA – Jakob Johnson is the latest local player in the NFL, and he just made history.
The Ribault product was signed by the New England Patriots on Saturday and added to the active roster. Johnson is the first player to end up in the NFL through the league's International Pathway Program.
Johnson, now a fullback, was assigned to the Patriots last spring as part of the pathway program, an initiative to allow players from other countries the opportunity to reach the NFL. The program allowed NFL teams to keep an international player as an 11th member on the practice squad, but doesn't allow them to be promoted to the active roster.
Johnson, however, was excluded from that since New England kept him as one of the 10 members of the practice squad.
Johnson played his senior season at Ribault in 2013. He was a late arrival, getting to Jacksonville in late July all the way from Germany. The season started roughly a month later and Johnson was an instant fit for coach Anthony Flynn and the Trojans as a linebacker.
He signed with Tennessee and played four seasons with the Volunteers, moving from linebacker to tight end during his time there. Johnson went undrafted last year and returned to Germany to play professional football.
He had 43 catches for 474 yards and four touchdowns in 2018 with the Stuttgart Scorpions of the German Football League. Through the Pathway Program, players have a shot at making the 53-man roster.