Mississippi State running back Dillon Johnson is transferring from Starkville, apparently with head coach Mike Leach's stamp of approval.
The junior announced Wednesday he is leaving the program while taking a clear shot at Leach on his way out. After the usual collection of shout-outs and thank-yous, Johnson wrote the main reason for his decision is that he is "not very tough, and Leach is glad I am leaving."
You can imagine that line reflects a relationship gone very sour behind the scenes.
Johnson's full statement:
First and foremost, I would like to thank God for giving me the opportunity to showcase my talents at a college level. Without Him, I am nothing. Secondly, I would like to thank my family and friends for the endless love and support they have shown me throughout this season.
To Mississippi State University, my teammates, trainers, and amazing fans, it has been an honor to participate in this program with you all. Together you guys have helped me build my character and skill's [sic] tremendously.
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 with that hopes of finding a more fit playing environment for me. Thank you.
Johnson was part of Leach's first recruiting class at Mississippi State in the Class of 2020, but he initially committed to the program under previous head coach Joe Moorhead. A three-star recruit out Greenville, Miss., Johnson saw immediate playing time as a freshman alongside classmate Jo'quavious Marks.
This season, Johnson was second on the team in yards per scrimmage, behind only Marks, with 488 on the ground and 285 through the air, plus three touchdowns. He also played through knee and hip injuries in the Egg Bowl, telling reporters "I wasn't healthy at all" after the game, per the Commercial Dispatch.
He also reportedly said running the ball would be the key to Mississippi State's future success on offense, which could definitely be seen as another shot at Leach considering no team ran the ball less than the Bulldogs this season.
Johnson figures to be a notable name in the transfer portal, and while a feud with a former coach would normally be a bad look for a player, he is hardly the only player to have friction with Leach.