But the California native’s emergence to NFL scouts is a reality.
Johnson arrived at the University of San Diego as a 145-pound freshman after being recruited by Jim Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh’s brother, out of an inner-city Oakland high school.
Four years later, Johnson has matured into a 6-foot-2, 213-pound senior who led the Division I-AA Toreros with 43 touchdown passes and just one interception while rushing for 720 yards last year. He was named the offensive MVP of the prestigious East-West Shrine game
"My story is crazy," Johnson acknowledged to reporters at the NFL scouting combine. "Iâ€™m small, not recruited, a former NFL quarterback recruits me to a school a lot of people think is San Diego State once I say San Diego.
"It was a non-scholarship program, and as he changed the program around, my life began to change on and off the field."
Johnson experienced back spasms at the combine, where he ran an impressive 4.53 in the 40-yard dash. But he nervously flubbed the throwing portion of the workout, sailing throws all over the RCA Dome turf.
"Josh Johnson is really good," John Harbaugh said. "Then, he gets in the combine and his workouts and it’s not as good," Harbaugh said. "Why is that? Jim’s point is that he’s going to be fine. He’ll grow through that.
"Here’s this little skinny kid who was a really great athlete. He just wasn’t a big-time prospect. After the first year, Jim said, ‘This kid is going to be in the NFL.’"