Card: Topps AAF 2019
Acquired: TTM 2019, C/o The Philadelphia Eagles
Sent: 4/10 Received: 7/26 (107 days)
Charles Johnson was the big bodied playmaker in Steve Spurrier’s Sun N Gun offense at Wide Receiver. Over 8 games, he caught 45 passes (70 targets) primarily from Garrett Gilbert, for 687 yards, 5 TDs and a 2 point conversion. His 687 yards and 70 targets were a league mark. Charles best game came against the San Antonio Commanders in Week 2, as he set AAF records with 10 catches for 192 yards and a TD.
“He’s done a fantastic job since he’s been here. He got himself acclimated to the system, and he and I have great rapport.”– Apollos QB Garrett Gilbert
Charles Johnson’s football story starts at Antelope Valley Community College back in 2008. He caught 24 passes for 231 yards and 3 TDs, and then at Eastern Kentucky catching 3 passes for 63 yards. He transferred to Grand Valley and reshirted for a year. Returning to the gridiron in 2011 he blew the doors off of the college recording 56 receptions for 1030 yards and 15 TDs. Johnson followed that season up with an equally impressive Senior campaign with 72 receptions for 1,199 yards and 16 TDs.
Although he was not invited to the NFL combine in 2013, and hailing from a small school, Charles turned heads with his 4.39 40 on his school’s Pro Day. He parlayed his efforts to sneak onto draft boards as a 7th round pick of the Green Bay Packers. Earning a spot on the team’s practice squad, Charles was signed away by the WR needy Browns, where he spent 2013 and 2014.
He then spent the next 3 seasons with the Vikings from 2014-2016. It was with the Vikes Johnson saw the most success, cobbling together 31 catches for 475 yards and 2 TDs during 2014. Hampered by injuries and inconsistency, Johnson struggled through 2015 and 2016.
Charles signed with the Panthers in 2017, but did not make the squad. The following year in 2018 he joined the Jets, but was cut mid-year and elected to join the AAF.
After the disappointing end to the league, Charles signed within the first few days of the AAF free agent frenzy. When I saw his name popped up on the transaction boards for the Eagles, I didn’t hesitate for a second and sent out to him the following week.
As one of the older players in the AAF, Charles was of interest to many scouts in the NFL and there was a lot of chatter always surrounding what a great story he was for the league, and how just getting back to basics had really helped him fall back in love with the game. I got his autograph on his lone AAF card, and although they did come out with a Topps NOW card of him- I thought that Topps really missed out on the certified autograph boat with him.