You surely remember him: Aldarius "Glue Hands'' Johnson, the star receiver who came from Miami Northwestern High to UM with Jacory Harris and Tommy Streeter and Sean Spence and Marcus Forston and the rest of the bunch in 2008.
At Northwestern, Johnson set Miami-Dade County records with 76 receptions as a senior in 2007, breaking his own mark, according to the 2008 Hurricanes media guide, of 72 catches set the previous year. He finished his senior season at Northwestern with 960 yards and 13 touchdowns. He caught seven passes for 84 yards in the state title game. As a high school junior, he caught his 72 passes for 1,361 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Johnson chose Miami over Florida, Florida State and LSU. But he never made it to his senior season as a college athlete.
He was suspended indefinitely by UM in late August for sending a tweet during CanesFest that asked his Twitter followers what the best strip club was in Miami. The tweet came after he already was among a group of UM players deemed ineligible before the season because of their involvement with former booster and convicted Ponzi-schemer Nevin Shapiro.
But Johnson was never reinstated. Published reports and multiple sources said his story did not match up with what other players told the NCAA about their involvement with Shapiro.
Now, Johnson is hoping for a second chance. He has signed a contract with Majestic Agents & Consultants in Miami and is training for the NFL Draft. He also has accepted an invitation to play in the new Battle of Florida North vs. South Collegiate All-Star Game on Jan. 21 at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton.
“I feel great,’’ Johnson, 22, said Wednesday. “I’ve been working out since I found out I couldn’t play this season. I learned from my mistakes. It made me a better person in life and made me take everything more seriously.
“It was really painful to know I couldn’t play a sport I loved and had been playing since I was 4. To sit out this season and see my team go through the things they went through, and know I could have been out there helping them win, was real painful.
“I can’t make any more boneheaded mistakes.’’
Johnson's agent, Carlos Rodriguez, said Wednesday that Johnson is working out with professional trainer Bo Smith and has lost 15 to 20 pounds. He is down to 205, Rodriguez said, on his 6-2 1/2-inch frame.
Rodriguez and his agency partner Manny Vadillo said UM coach Al Golden has given Johnson permission to participate in UM's pro timing day before the NFL Draft -- as long as he graduates. He is expected to get his degree Dec. 15, as UM allowed him to keep his scholarship.
"He's a guy who obviously didn’t live up to expectations,’’ Rodriguez said of Johnson, who caught 31 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns his first season in 2008 but only 15 for 157 yards and no touchdowns in 2010. “He gained weight and wasn’t working out as much and definitely wasn’t putting in as much effort as he should have.
“But having sat out, having not been able to participate with his class that came in so highly touted, not having an opportunity to make an impact, really hurt him to the point of motivating him. He’s a good kid at heart who made some bad decisions. He has the physical skills and body frame and is taking this one last chance to show he can do it.
“It’s going to come down to if he runs well. He already has great hands. He’s working on his routes. With time and opportunity he could succeed.’’
Rodriguez insists Johnson is remorseful. "He made some mistakes and he's looking forward to the next part of his life,'' Rodriguez said. "He's thankful to UM for giving him the opportunity to graduate.''
Also, just in case anyone missed this: UM quarterback Jacory Harris and linebacker Sean Spence are being represented by agent Drew Rosenhaus.
--SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN