With NIL and the transfer portal, college football has changed. One Mississippi State player, now former, ripped head coach Mike Leach in his announcement. There are literally hundreds of players entering the portal now that the season has ended for most teams. And this Bulldog did not leave on good terms with the head coach.
Dillon Johnson was a running back for Mississippi State. A three-star prospect out of Greenville, Mississippi, he’s been with the program since 2020. During the 2022 season, Johnson had 89 carries for 488 yards and three touchdowns. That’s not bad production. He almost matched his 2021 season stats identically.
However, it is clear that something happened between Johnson and Coach Leach. Mississippi State is now down a back that they likely thought would be there for a fourth season. In his statement on Twitter, he announced his intentions to enter the transfer portal. He thanked fans, teammates, trainers, and the university itself.
However, he also included, “with that being said, since I am not very tough, and Leach is glad I’ am leaving, I will be entering my name into the transfer portal…”
This is not a typical announcement, clearly. It also appears that he didn’t get much help from the Mississippi State graphics department. A lot of times, teams will help student-athletes prepare statements like these. When you leave on a sour note like this, that doesn’t happen.
This season was okay for the Bulldogs. They went 8-4 and finished the regular season ranked No. 24. Throw in a win in the Egg Bowl over the Ole Miss Rebels, and it was a year you can be happy about. Now, they will play in the ReliaQuest Bowl against Illinois down a running back.
Mississippi State Latest Victim of Transfer Portal
It is shocking to see a player come out against their former coach like this. It generally doesn’t work out well for most guys. However, Johnson is a proven talent that should be able to land at another Power 5 school. The transfer portal is the new thing and we might see more outspoken athletes in the future because of it.
Schools are having to recruit not just high school players but also other college players. That means teams are fending off other programs as well. It has created a free agency of sorts with not just football players, but athletes in other sports as well.
Mississippi State is probably going to be alright. But this is going to be awkward to talk about with future recruits and current players as well. Coach Leach might get nervous if this becomes a trend. But for now, it is just one player and one comment.