Saturday was supposed to be just another regular day of fall camp for the Eastern Michigan football team.
The Eagles opened the day with practice like they would any day, and were supposed to have a walk-through Saturday night at EMU's "The Factory," but coach Chris Creighton had another idea in mind.
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Instead, Creighton gave his players the night off from practice and brought the team to the Detroit Lions vs. New York Jets preseason game at Ford Field, and to support former Eastern Michigan players T.J. Lang and rookie Pat O'Connor.
But when Creighton came on the jumbotron and introduced the Eagles, he had one more suprise up his sleeve: a scholarship for senior wide receiver Jaron Johnson.
Congratulations Jaron Johnson (@AlumniJJ11) on earning a full scholarship!! You deserve this - you are #FR4REAL pic.twitter.com/T2CSZ2y1OP— EMU Football (@EMUFB) August 20, 2017
"I had no idea I just know it's a blessing, I worked hard for it and I make my family proud," Johnson told WXYZ Detroit at the stadium. "My heart dropped when it happened to me I'm on the faithful and just grateful right now."
Johnson appeared in eight games for EMU last season, primarily on special teams where he returned 24 kickoffs for a total of 440 return yards. His five returns for 89 yards set a Popeyes Bahama Bowl record against Old Dominion.
What a blessing proud to be an eagle https://t.co/lz2l8oXvbc— J Duce (@AlumniJJ11) August 20, 2017
"It's a big deal," Creighton told WXYZ Detroit. "Here he is, going into his senior year paying his own way from California. He's been getting it done in the classroom, he's a great human being, and I'm telling you, you're going to see No. 8 in some big-time roles this season."
Congrats JaRon Johnson on earning a full ride scholarship for your senior year! #awesomemoment #awesomekid #FR4REAL! pic.twitter.com/oSObRcEyPK— Chris Creighton (@Coach_Creighton) August 20, 2017
Good times! #FR4REAL! pic.twitter.com/dcg9AMVxi5— Chris Creighton (@Coach_Creighton) August 20, 2017
"My whole family is going to be so proud of me, they're going to think I really deserved it and I'm proud," Johnson added.
Eastern Michigah begins its season Sept. 1 when it hosts Charlotte at Rynearson Stadium.