Dave Rader is 18 months and 600 miles removed from the Alabama football program, but he reacted to this week’s Jimmy Johns arrest as if he still were the team’s offensive coordinator.
“I was shocked,” Rader said Thursday from Tulsa, where he has moved and gone into private business.
His reaction to Johns being charged with five counts of distributing cocaine and one count of possessing it, along with ecstasy pills, isn’t that different from most people’s in this state.
His perspective is.
Rader, who also coached quarterbacks at Alabama under Mike Shula, recruited Johns as a quarterback out of Brookhaven, Miss. Knew his mother. Invited him into his home.
“My wife saw the news online,” Rader said. “She knew him. We were really, really sad.”
In the inevitable post-arrest finger-pointing, some fingers have pointed back at the previous staff, which signed Mississippi’s Mr. Football of 2004 and coached him for two years, until Alabama fired Shula.
Rader reminded me that Johns “could’ve gone to a number of colleges, not only because of his talent, but also because of what everybody in Brookhaven would tell you about him.
“His background check was good. The town of Brookhaven loved him. People we knew who knew him all said, `You’re going to love having Jimmy Johns on your team.'”
Rader said he did, even though Shula suspended Johns for one game in 2006.