University of Arizona recruit My-King Johnson is set to become the first active openly gay scholarship player in major-college football history.
"I do feel like when I say that (I'm gay), it can put a target on my back. But whatever," Johnson told the Arizona Daily Star for a story Saturday.
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound defensive end starred at Tempe High School. He signed with the home-state Wildcats after verbally committing to Pac-12 Conference rival UCLA.
— My-King Johnson (@kingj9943) February 2, 2017
Johnson also had offers from Arizona State, Oregon, USC and Texas A&M. Rivals.com rates Johnson as the 26th-best player at his position among the class of 2017, and the eighth best overall player in the state.
The Daily Star said Johnson said he was gay to Arizona defensive line coach Vincent Amey during the recruiting process. Johnson said Amey replied that "we want you to be a Wildcat." Now 17, Johnson said he was 12 when he came out to his friends and family.
"I'm just here to play football," Johnson tweeted after the Star's story was published.
I'm just here to play football.
— My-King Johnson (@kingj9943) February 25, 2017
Former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam announced he was gay in February 2014, about a month after completing his college career. Kyle Kurdziolek, a linebacker at NAIA program St. Francis (Illinois) told OutSports this month he's gay. Chip Sarafin, a walk-on offensive lineman at Arizona State at the time, told Compete magazine in the summer of 2014 that he's gay.