Q. You leave a program in Georgia that has a rich history of pass-rushers. You come to Florida State that has also a rich history of pass-rushers. What do you feel like as an edge rusher you bring to this defense?
JERMAINE JOHNSON: I feel with my experience, multiple levels, just my experience playing the game for this length of time, I feel like I just bring experience to the table.
Like Coach said, we have a lot of young guys, the youngest team last year, I feel like a lot of experience and also technique. I like to value myself as a technician because first thing I learned getting on this level is a lot of guys will match your skill set and your talent level. The thing that sets you apart is your technique, how serious you approach that can determine how far you go in the game.
I think I bring a technician aspect, experience aspect, just a leadership role overall.
Q. Coming from Georgia, why was Florida State the right fit for you? Why did this one make the most sense?
JERMAINE JOHNSON: That guy right there, Coach Norvell, he called me. Everything he said just made sense. He believed in who I was as a man. He believed in who I was as a player. He believed in who I could be. I feel like we share those values. I couldn’t wait to get here and give everything I had to him and this program.
Every day I wake up happy and I feel blessed that I’m able to give all I have to this program. It just feels like it’s right, feels like it was made for me. I’m just blessed to be in the position I am.
Q. You’ve had kind of a crazy, unique journey in college starting at Independence. Are you ready to be the guy on the Florida State defense after being a contributor?
JERMAINE JOHNSON: Of course. I mean, like I said, I’m just looking to give everything I can to this team, be available in any way I can, and whatever Coach or whatever my teammates ask of me, I just hope I can do and deliver for them.
Q. You have seen a great deal of change over your last three years. What is it about yourself that you have learned through all of this change?
JERMAINE JOHNSON: What you believe is what you believe. Your thoughts are very powerful. What you choose to think, that’s what will become a reality for you.
So just tuning out the outside noise, good or bad. Having a strong foundation and a sense of who you are as a person, and in my case as a man. I feel like that has carried me through all of my triumphs and everything else.
Q. How much have you enjoyed this opportunity to lead younger players? Probably a unique position for you to be one of the elder statesmen on the team.
JERMAINE JOHNSON: I love it. I love it. I wake up every day, like I said, I feel blessed. Coach Norvell told me what I was walking into in terms of a role that I had to step and be that guy and influence and lead other guys.
I don’t take that lightly. He’s trusting me with an incredible role. My teammates trust me with an incredible role every day.
I can’t have a bad day. I can’t come in and be flat. I have to come in, like I said, give my all to this team on and off the field. Tons of things nobody sees. Just have to do the right thing and push the right things forward for your team. So I’m just glad that I am in this position, and I’m blessed, truly blessed. That’s all I can say.