The Toronto Argonauts of the CFL have signed defensive lineman Poop Johnson, the team announced Feb. 13. While his real name is Cory, or sometimes C.J., the excremental moniker has stuck since his college career.
The 26-year old from Columbia (S.C.) has participated in 25 games over two professional seasons for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. His most extensive NFL time was two summers with the Atlanta Falcons in 2016 and Kansas City Chiefs in 2017.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. His Fecal Nickname Comes From His Frequent Defecation, Which Keeps His Weight Down
The former Kentucky Wildcat defensive tackle earned his nickname after an interview he had with the LEX 18 during summer practices in 2014.
“I’ll be 290, next day I’ll be 300,” Johnson said at the time. “Next day I’ll be 280. My weight is flexible. It goes on its own…I guess ‘cause I poop so much.
“I try to poop five times a day, three times a day. It’s hard to keep weight when you’ve got so much coming out.”
He told the Regina Leader-Post last November that the name is the manure that fuels him.
“It motivates me,” Johnson said. “If I play bad, then people are going to call me Poop for real.”
From 2014-15, the 6-foot-3, 300-pounder racked up 77 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles with one recovery in his two seasons in the Bluegrass State.
2. The Former Kentucky Wildcat Earned Internet Buzz for 2 Athletic Defensive Plays
He twice went viral for his defensive highlights during his senior season at Kentucky.
First, he scooped up a fumble and rumbled 77 yards for a go-ahead touchdown against rival Tennessee (a game the Wildcats eventually lost 52-21). Three weeks later, he snared a twirling sideline interception in a blowout win over Charlotte.
Both plays garnered him nominations for SB Nation’s 2015 Piesman Trophy, which goes to the best play by an offensive or defensive lineman carrying the ball.
For his efforts, the All-SEC second-teamer earned an undrafted free-agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons on May 6, 2016.
3. He ‘Couldn’t Fathom Attending College’ During His High School Days in Pennsylvania
Johnson was born in the Palmetto State, but his father Carl and mother Centuria moved him up to Chambersburg (Pa.) for high school. It took him a while to plan beyond secondary education.
“He couldn’t fathom attending college,” PennLive’s Aaron Kasinitz wrote in Aug. 2015, “never mind putting in the work – academically and physically – to play Division I football.”
After receiving scholarship interest from Temple in 2009, he became motivated to improve his grades and qualify academically. He caught up with four summer school courses and two extra classes during the fall semester. While he fell short with Temple, junior college presented another avenue.
He participated for a private junior college team called Gattaca for a year and then enrolled at ASA College in Brooklyn. The move from central Pennsylvania to New York City presented financial challenges.
“At ASA, it was a struggle because we lived in one of the richer parts of downtown Brooklyn and we didn’t have no meal plan,” Johnson told Kasinitz. “We had to get food on our own. At ASA, all the homework, all the tests — you was on your own. So really, it was being on your own in several aspects.”
He pushed through to make first-team All-Northeast after pacing the Avengers with 49 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in 2013.
4. He Landed at Kentucky After Big Offers From Miami & Penn State
His production at ASA brought him a slew of attention from some top FBS programs.
A 4-star prospect per 247 Sports, and No. 27 overall junior college prospect, he fielded scholarship offers from Miami (Fla.), Penn State and Tennessee. He committed to Kentucky in July 2013 during an unofficial visit – or an out-of-pocket trip with his family.
He took two official (university-sponsored) visits to Miami and Texas Tech on consecutive weeks the following December. Five days after the trip to Lubbock (Tex.), he signed his letter of intent to play for Mark Stoops and the Wildcats.
Johnson joined a recruiting class that consisted of 28 commitments and finished No. 22 per 247 Sports. This is Kentucky’s highest-rated haul in the last decade.
Stoops fought tooth and nail for Johnson and fellow junior college star A.J. Stamps up until the final hours.
“Believe me, we were working all night last night,” Stoops told reporters at the Signing Day press conference. “We were working all the way through. It’s not easy. We’re all competitive. But these guys are important to our program.”
Johnson appreciated the level of communication and hard work that went into procuring his pledge. Alongside Stoops, he developed a strong relationship with his future defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh.
“I’ve talked to him more than any coach that recruited me,” Johnson said to the Courier-Journal at the time. “You can say want a guy to play for you, but if you ain’t communicating with him, you can’t want him too bad. But me and Coach Brumbaugh talk all the time. It just felt good.”
Despite the Wildcats’ posting a 2-10 record in Stoops’ first season, Johnson saw the potential for growth in Lexington.
“Some people would watch the season that just went by and might say something negative, but I see nothing but positives,” Johnson said. “The fan base is amazing, so if you could get a winning season at Kentucky, I know it would be probably one of the greatest things you could experience.”
Another factor was academics rearing its head again. Miami needed him to him to take additional online courses to be academically eligible. Kentucky told him he was ready to enroll on-time that winter.
He saw seven games in his first season of Division I football, notching 2.5 sacks and 4 TFLs among his 10 total stops.
5. He’s Bounced Around the NFL & CFL
After the Falcons and Chiefs waived Johnson in consecutive offseasons, he found a starting role as a rookie for the Blue Bombers. Over 25 games in two seasons, he tallied 28 tackles and five sacks.
From his first training camp in Winnipeg, he grew comfortable in his new organization.
His production dipped in 2018, so he was demoted to the practice squad after nine starts, Per his request, Winnipeg released him in late October. He was picked up for the rest of the season by the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who narrowly missed the Grey Cup after finishing second in the West Division to the Calgary Stampeders.
The journeyman tackle felt the Blue Bombers “forgot” about his effective first season.
“I felt like I got the short end of the stick over there, so I was angry,” he said to Roughrider senior reporter Ian Hamilton last November. “Then I thought I was going home, so I was more angry. Once I got the call to come here, I thought, ‘Now I can do something with that anger.’
“It’ll feel good if I get the chance to let (the Bombers) see where they made a mistake.”
Johnson may have felt some teams forgot about him. With Late Show host Stephen Colbert doing segments on him, Poop Johnson will linger.