31 Flavors of Football: Keyshawn Johnson Was a Bulldog

To help you and me get through the drudgery of August, I will present in this space a daily scoop of MSU football-ness, as inspired by a certain ice cream chain. August has 31 days, so I’ll let you work it out from there. Here is today’s flavor.


Perhaps this is common knowledge among MSU fans, but it’s something I learned only recently: Keyshawn Johnson was once a Bulldog. Temporarily.

In 1992, Johnson was a junior college receiver with a bad attitude (imagine that) when he decided to sign with MSU. He arrived on campus that summer, and according to former MSU receiver Eric Moulds, Johnson stayed about a month before getting homesick.

An L.A. Times story from 1999 (CLICK HERE) said Johnson had signed with State despite not having completed enough hours of academic work at the junior college in California, so that’s why he had to go back. According to a 1999 New York Daily News story (CLICK HERE), Johnson had only committed to MSU, and Moulds is quoted as saying, regarding Johnson’s swift departure, “He wasn’t used to the South.”

In his autobiography, Johnson wrote that he did sign with MSU because he thought loading up on course work in one year of juco would allow him to transfer to a four-year institution. He was ignorant of NCAA rules.

Whatever the reason, Johnson returned to California, played some more juco ball, and then signed with USC. He went on to a productive 11-year NFL career and helped Tampa Bay win a Super Bowl.

If Johnson had been able to play for MSU, he’d have teamed up with Moulds, who was a Bulldog from 1993-95. Would’ve been quite the combo. During his two seasons at USC, Johnson caught 168 passes for 2,796 yards and 16 touchdowns. During three seasons at MSU, Moulds had 118 receptions for 2,022 yards and 17 TDs.