Johnson declined to get into the specifics of the players’ reasons for leaving Tech, saying “I’m not going to get into why who left where, who went with Sally. They all have their reasons.”
However, asked further on the topic, he returned to what he sees as impatience for playing time.
“It’s just the nature of the beast nowadays,” he said. “The kids have such a sense of entitlement. Nobody wants to wait their turn sometimes.”
Johnson recalled his own childhood growing up in Newland, N.C., where he said he couldn’t recall being on a team where there wasn’t a cut or that had rules about ensuring every team member was able to play, a common policy in youth sports.
“It’s just changed,” he said. “I think that it’s not so much the kids. It’s just society in general.”
Johnson did have an appreciation of the difficulty that players often encounter. He noted how each player on scholarship was the best player on his high-school team, or one of the best. He then comes to college and now finds himself competing with as many as 84 other teammates who enjoyed the same status.
“Some kids can handle it better than others,” he said. “It’s just kind of the way it is.”
Johnson said no restrictions are being placed on where any of the three can transfer. Given that Walker and Bridges have both used their redshirt year, Johnson noted that they would have to sit out another year and lose a year of eligibility if they were to transfer to another FBS school. They could play immediately at an FCS school.
Walker has three years of eligibility remaining; Bridges has four. Marshall played his first two years on campus and has three years to play his final two, so he could go to another FBS school without losing a year of eligibility.
“It’s not a phenomenon that’s just happened,” Johnson said. “Thank goodness it’s not as bad as basketball.”