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Turlock’s Mustafa Johnson declares for NFL Draft
Mustafa Johnson
Washington State QB Gardner Minshew scrambles to avoid Colorado's Mustafa Johnson during a game in 2018. Johnson, a 2017 Turlock High grad, announced his intention to enter the 2021 NFL Draft, forgoing his final year of collegiate eligibility (Derek Regensburger/ Cal Sport Media via AP Images/File).

Turlock High School alum and former varsity football standout Mustafa Johnson has decided to chase his dream of playing in the NFL.

On Friday, the 2017 Bulldog graduate, former Modesto Junior College Pirate and now University of Colorado Buffalo announced his intention to enter the 2021 NFL Draft, forgoing his final year of collegiate eligibility. Though Johnson is a senior, he could have returned to play defensive end for the Buffs next season thanks to an extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA due to the pandemic.

In a statement posted to his social media accounts, Johnson thanked CU for all of the fun and opportunities the university provided for him.

“I also want to thank the coaching staff, family, friends and fans for the support they have shown through my journey. With that being said I am eager to represent my family and the Buffalo family as I prepare to pursue my childhood dream of playing in the NFL,” Johnson said. 

While at THS, Johnson was part of the undefeated 2016 California Central Conference team and lost just two games during his three years on the varsity squad. During that time, he was a two-time CCC Defensive Player of the Year. As a senior in 2016, Johnson finished the season with a team-high 68 tackles, seven sacks and 30 tackles for loss. 

He followed his senior campaign with one season at MJC, where he was tied for first on the team with 6.5 sacks. Johnson was so impressive during his season at MJC that he was signed to the Division-I program at CU and went on to lead the 2018 Buffs in sacks (8.5). Johnson also added 73 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and 16 quarterback pressures — a team best — during his first year at the D-I level and earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors. 

This season, Johnson had 21 tackles, two sacks and six tackles for loss during the regular season for the Buffs and added three tackles and a sack during the Alamo Bowl. Coaches and media named Johnson second-team All-Pac-12, and he leaves CU tied for 14th in program history in career sacks (15) according to BuffStampede.com. 

The NFL Draft will be held April 29 through May 1 in Cleveland this year.