Sorry, an error occurred.
Sign up with
Thank you .
Your account has been registered, and you are now logged in.
Check your email for details.
Invalid password or account does not exist
Sign in with
Your purchase was successful, and you are now logged in.
A receipt was sent to your email.
Sunshine and clouds mixed. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High 91F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph..
Scattered showers and thunderstorms. Low 71F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.
Updated: August 13, 2021 @ 4:39 am
Click here to stay informed and subscribe to Herald-Dispatch.
Click #isupportlocal for more information on supporting our local journalists.
Learn more about HD Media
HUNTINGTON — Marshall defensive back Nazeeh Johnson is known as “NightJohn” by teammates.
As Johnson prepares for his final season with the Thundering Herd in 2021, however, the guy known as NightJohn is showing a much lighter side of himself.
That was evident at Marshall’s Fan Day when Johnson showed up with blonde hair, showing a little bit of his personality.
“It’s my last year of college football,” Johnson said. “I mean, why not? When I take off my helmet, people are going to be like, ‘Oh man!’ It’s all eyes on me, so that’s all right.”
Johnson’s look was ready in time for the team’s photo shoot last week, which will be used in pregame videos and online graphics.
Reaction to the look had several players with mixed feelings, including fellow safety Brandon Drayton, who has been with Johnson for five years now and offered some brutal honesty to his buddy.
“I don’t like it,” Drayton said while glancing at Johnson and smiling. “Nah, man. I don’t like it.”
Even Marshall coach Charles Huff took time out of the football focus to offer thoughts on the new look, which brought up memories of hip-hop artist Sisqo, who was known for his white-blonde hair.
“I’m from Maryland, so when I grew up Sisqo was a huge rapper,” Huff said.
“I thought it was Sisqo and I was like, ‘Wow, I wonder if he can play football.’”
After what college athletes went through in 2020 with strict protocols and mandatory testing for COVID-19, Huff added that being able to not be so rigid and scripted is exciting for players this season.
“Everybody gets excited for football season, but I think last year, with what this team went through, what this country went through, what this university went through, the excitement to almost be back to normal has probably heightened everything a little bit more,” Huff said. “Maybe that’s what made him bleach his hair. I don’t know.”
Johnson has been one of the vibrant characters within the Marshall locker room since he came to the Herd as a walk-on, using a skill at football and an extra gear that helped him earn a scholarship and, eventually, a captaincy among the players.
“I’m a person that likes to stand out, but be a part of something,” Johnson said with a laugh. “That’s just me. I’m my own person.”
“I think that just shows a little bit of Naz’s character,” Huff said. “Again, I don’t know why the color change, but I think all of these guys have come in with a different excitement.”
No matter the color, Huff hopes that Johnson’s play is as flashy as his new hair look in 2021.
Johnson has rotated between safety and nickelback in recent time with Marshall, but defensive coordinator Lance Guidry said this week he will shift into a primary free safety role..
That means he will be paired with Drayton on the back end to give Marshall one of the most veteran safety duos in Conference USA with 86 games experience between them.
Last season, Johnson was fourth in tackles with 59 while adding a team-best two interceptions and two fumble recoveries, one of which came on his own forced fumble.
Johnson hopes the look gets plenty of face-time on television this year, which would mean he’s making plays for the Herd.
Regardless, Johnson said the look is here to stay.
“All season,” Johnson said firmly. “I’m not changing it until we win a championship.”
Email notifications are only sent once a day, and only if there are new matching items.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.