My-King Johnson: First openly gay FBS player 'here to play football'

By Alex Butler  |  Updated Feb. 27, 2017 at 3:53 PM
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Feb. 27 (UPI) -- He was 12-years-old when he came out to his friends and family.

Now My-King Johnson is primed to share his story on a bigger stage: The Division I Football Subdivision. King will make history with the Arizona Wildcats this season when he becomes the first ever openly gay football scholarship player.

During his recruitment from Tempe High School, Johnson told Wildcats assistant Vince Amey about his sexuality. Amey responded with "We want you to be a Wildcat," according to the Arizona Daily Star.

"I do feel like when I say that, it can put a target on my back," the 17-year old told the Daily Star. "But whatever."

The 6-foot, 4-inch, 225-pound defensive end was predicted to go to Oregon before he committed to UCLA. He de-committed from UCLA last month before catching on with the Wildcats.

Former Missouri standout Michael Sam became the first openly gay athlete to be drafted into the NFL when the St. Louis Rams took him in the 2014 NFL Draft. Sam didn't come out publicly until after his college career ended. Sam never took a regular season snap in the NFL and is now out of the league.

King tweeted his first quarter grades in October. Those academic marks include four A's and a B, good for a 3.8 GPA. His B came in honors physics.

On Saturday he tweeted: "I'm just here to play football."

"They [Arizona Wildcats] were the first Power 5 school to talk to me. I just felt they showed they really wanted me," Johnson told AZCentral.com.

Johnson was the No. 1 defensive end out of Arizona. He signed his national letter of intent on national signing day. He had 21.5 sacks, three forced fumbles 89 tackles, and 19 tackles for a loss during his senior season. Johnson received 11 scholarship offers, including requests from: Oregon, Texas A&M, and USC.

Arizona's first game is set for Sept. 2 against Northern Arizona.

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