Former UA Star Goes Against Grain in Calling out “Snaxx” Johnson for About-Face

Lorando Johnson, Snaxx Johnson, Arkansas football, transfer portal
photo credit: Nick Wenger

Known by many as “Snaxx,” Lorando Johnson became the latest defection from the Arkansas football team Monday and his departure was met with mixed reactions.

The defensive back joined the Razorbacks as a transfer from Baylor and almost immediately asserted himself as a starter, but his stint will be just one season because of his decision to re-enter the portal.

On the surface, it’s a surprising loss for Arkansas, but it comes on the heels of him dropping behind Tennessee transfer Doneiko Slaughter as the second-team nickel back about midway through spring ball.

However, Johnson was still likely going to be a factor in the secondary this season, making him the second notable post-spring loss for the Razorbacks. The other was punter Max Fletcher, who was a possible preseason All-SEC candidate.

Quarterback Jacolby Criswell, running back Isaiah Augustave and offensive lineman Paris Patterson also went through spring ball and have since entered the transfer portal, but they were each third or lower on the projected depth chart.

Arkansas football coach Sam Pittman was hopeful he would be able to retain most of the team following the conclusion of spring ball, yet acknowledged after the Red-White Game on April 13 that the Razorbacks would “inevitably” lose some because of the “landscape of football.”

“We don’t want to lose any of our players,” Pittman said. “I had a talk with our team, and I said, ‘Hey, if we just don’t lose anybody that we have and don’t add anybody, we’re going to have us a fine football team.’ So the No. 1 thing is, I don’t want to lose anybody we have.”

Two more former Razorbacks — offensive lineman Andrew Chamblee and defensive end Jashaud Stewart — have entered the portal during the spring window, as well, but neither of them were with the team this spring. They join a group of 16 scholarship players who opted to transfer following the season, bringing the total to 23 portal departures.

Reaction to Lorando Johnson’s Departure

Based on the reactions from his teammates, it seems like Lorando Johnson was a well-liked guy in the locker room.

Here are a few tweets from Razorbacks on the other side of the ball, running backs Ja’Quinden Jackson and Rashod Dubinion, plus wide receivers Andrew Armstrong and Tyrone Broden:

While those guys were all sad or disappointed to see “Snaxx” leaving, at least one former Arkansas football player didn’t share those sentiments.

Former linebacker De’Jon Harris — a multi-time All-SEC selection during his time in Fayetteville — seemed to call out the hypocrisy of Johnson, who has been an out-spoken supporter of the Razorbacks on Twitter.

There are almost always fans who have those feelings and express them via social media, but it’s not every day you see a former star player do so.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, especially given his history on Twitter, Johnson fired back at Harris:

What it Means for Arkansas Football

With the departure of Lorando Johnson, the Razorbacks have now lost nearly half of their total offensive and defensive snaps from last season between transfers and players exhausting their eligibility. In fact, that number is up to 48.6%, according to Pro Football Focus.

He led the defense with 688 snaps in 2023. On that side of the ball specifically, Arkansas must replace six of its top 10 players in terms of snaps — with three of those leaving via the transfer portal. Johnson joins linebackers Jaheim Thomas and Chris Paul Jr. in that category, while Alfahiym Walcott and Trajan Jeffcoat didn’t have any remaining eligibility and Dwight McGlothern entered the NFL Draft.

Thomas and Paul were almost certainly set to be starters in 2024, but Johnson came out of spring ball as the backup nickel back. He was surpassed by Tennessee transfer Doneiko Slaughter, who received consistent praise from the coaching staff throughout the spring.

“He’s as good as any of them back there,” Pittman said about Slaughter on March 28. “He’s a good player and he’s a really good kid. He’s done good. … Slaughter is a guy who’s really going to help us.”

That didn’t mean Johnson’s path to playing time was blocked, though. He may have been the Razorbacks’ sixth man in the secondary, capable of filling in at nickel or cornerback in the event of an injury. He may have also had a shot to beat out Kee’yon Stewart, Jaheim Singletary and Marquise Robinson for the starting cornerback job opposite of Jaylon Braxton, if the Razorbacks decided to go that route.

Regardless, he was a defensive back with 25 collegiate starts at the Power Five level (including his time at Baylor) under his belt and a reputation for hard hitting that came from pops like this: 

That level of experience is tough to replace and, barring more additions via the transfer portal, it’s likely it’ll be replaced by a young, yet talented player.

Even with Johnson hitting the portal, the Razorbacks have 18 defensive backs on scholarship, so it’s unlikely they add another one unless it’s a bonafide starter. That means the depth behind Slaughter and the rest of the secondary will come from the group of 11 first- and second-year defensive backs Arkansas signed in the previous two recruiting classes.

One of those players, Braxton, is already a projected starter and TJ Metcalf played enough to burn his redshirt last year, but the rest of that group is very inexperienced.

College Career of Snaxx Johnson

A four-star recruit coming out of high school, Lorando Johnson was ranked as high as No. 252 overall by ESPN and originally committed to LSU early in the process.

He eventually backed off that pledge and signed with Baylor in the 2020 class, but was also pursued by Arkansas under the previous staff. Alabama, Auburn, Michigan, Ohio State and Texas A&M were among the many Power Five programs that offered him, as well.

After redshirting his first year of college, Johnson established a role for himself as a redshirt freshman in 2021. An injury caused him to miss six games, but he still played 92 defensive and 50 special teams snaps.

That includes his first career start against Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl, a game the Bears won 21-7. Johnson posted a solid 65.4 grade on 44 snaps in that game.

In his third season at Baylor, Johnson moved from nickel to cornerback and secured a spot in the starting lineup. He started all 12 regular-season games and earned a 75.0 PFF grade on 655 defensive snaps.

Johnson was officially credited with 20 tackles — including 2 for loss and half a sack — and five pass breakups, plus a forced fumble, in 19 games with the Bears.

Following the 2022 season, he opted to hit the transfer portal and ended up joining former Baylor teammate Alfahiym Walcott in Fayetteville. While Walcott was a super senior, Johnson had multiple year of eligibility remaining, but he ended up spending just one year with the Razorbacks.

In his lone season at Arkansas, Johnson started all 12 games – spending time at nickel and corner – and finished with 29 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 5 pass breakups and 1 interception.


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