USC's 2007 class now all eligible
Johnson made it through the NCAA Clearinghouse at 4:45 p.m. (PDT), just in time to beat the 5 p.m. deadline. Friday was the last day Johnson could be admitted to play in the fall semester. If Johnson's case wasn't processed by Friday then he wouldn't have been eligible to join the Trojans until mid-December at the earliest.
Johnson, a 5-10 point guard from Minneapolis, will begin classes Monday, 14 days after the fall semester began. Johnson will have to play catch up but he will be eligible to play for the Trojans this season.
The significance of Johnson's eligibility is it gives the Trojans a true point guard who won't be thinking about scoring.
"We haven't had that, not last year," USC assistant coach Gib Arnold said Friday. "He doesn't care if he scores a point. It will be nice to take the burden off O.J. [Mayo]. [Johnson] is a pure point guard."
Johnson's addition means the heralded Mayo, the highest profile member of the top-rated recruiting class, can play off the ball when Johnson is in the game. Daniel Hackett, who played the point as a freshman last season, is also more of a combo guard. Johnson's arrival means coach Tim Floyd may be able to experiment with a lineup of Johnson at the point and Mayo and Hackett on the wings.
The anticipated newcomer class is loaded with players who will make major contributions in Mayo, forwards Davon Jefferson and Marcus Simmons, center Mamadou Diarra, redshirt freshman Kasey Cunningham and now Johnson. Freshman James Dunleavy, the youngest of the Dunleavy clan, is expected to redshirt.
Johnson was NCAA eligible but there were issues with his paperwork to get through the clearinghouse as the NCAA's checks and balance system went through his academic record. Arnold said the university sent 110 pages of documentation to the NCAA to ensure his eligibility.