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Johnson-Koulianos’ draft stock plummets after arrest

BY HAYLEY BRUCE and J.T. BUGOS | DECEMBER 09, 2010 7:10 AM

Rob Johnson/The Daily Iowan
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Hawkeye leading wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos has likely jeopardized his chance at a NFL career, an expert on the NFL draft said.

The 23-year-old, who was arrested Tuesday on seven drug-related charges and suspended from the Iowa football team, would be lucky to be drafted in the last round, said Wes Bunting, the National Football Post’s director of college scouting.

“I mean, with draft picks, you have to invest money in them,” Bunting said. “I wouldn’t invest any money in him. I could very easily see him going as an undrafted free agent.”

Before this week, the star’s odds seemed high. Colloquially known as “DJK,” the Campbell, Ohio, native’s NFL draft stock prior to the 2010 season labeled him as a third or fourth round pick. After a year in which he broke numerous Iowa receiving records, Johnson-Koulianos had solidified himself as a mid-round pick.

At his initial hearing Wednesday, he waived his preliminary appearance.

Sporting a black dress coat, gray turtleneck, and sunglasses, Johnson-Koulianos flashed a smile to media and onlookers before entering the courtroom.

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He stood before 6th District Associate Judge Stephen Gerard with both hands behind his back and nodded along as the judge announced each charge. Those stem from a search warrant executed Tuesday at the residence of Johnson-Koulianos and roommate Brady Johnson; the charges include possession of marijuana, cocaine, and prescription drugs.

Johnson-Koulianos was released from the Johnson County Jail on a $8,000 bail Tuesday evening; roommate Johnson posted bail Wednesday. No one answered the door at their home Wednesday evening.

According to police reports, officers also found electronic media showing Johnson-Koulianos in possession of drugs. Court documents show the search warrant and return regarding his arrest has been sealed for 90 days because “the investigation in that case and other matters is still ongoing,” and release of information in the warrant could impede the investigation.

Johnson-Kouilianos isn’t the first Hawkeye to face legal problems. At least 18 football players have been cited or arrested since 2007, including Jewel Hampton’s 2010 public-intoxication charge and Adrian Clayborn’s assault causing bodily injury charge.

In response to numerous alcohol and other off-the-field problems, Hawkeye athletics officials hired Chigozie Ejiasi as director of player development in 2008 to help players adjust to the college life of an athlete. Officials also instituted new policies such as a midnight curfew, patrolling bars downtown for players, and classroom checks.

Bunting said Johnson-Koulianos should take responsibility for his actions. Police said he reportedly told them he was using the prescription drugs and had obtained them from friends.

“Try to learn something from it,” Bunting said. “The guy just seems to keep finding ways to get his name in the paper for little, stupid, knick-knack type things. At some point, maybe you just figure he’s not that mature of a kid.”

Bunting noted it would be unlikely head coach Kirk Ferentz would give Johnson-Koulianos an endorsement to an NFL team — he was no stranger to Ferentz’s “doghouse” — and Ferentz’s word carries a lot of weight.

One of Johnson-Koulianos’ neighbors said she was shocked when she heard about the arrest.

“He’s always really friendly. He even took the time to teach me how to throw a football,” Shona Roeder said, before her 11-year-old son chimed in: “What the heck was this guy thinking?”

A person who answered a call at Johnson-Koulianos’ Ohio home said his family would not speak with the media.

Cindy Parsons, Johnson-Koulianos’ landlord, said he has lived at the residence since June 2008, but she has never noticed anything unusual.

“There were parties and people coming and going,” she said. “But you figure with a football player and people from the team coming to visit, it wasn’t anything that seemed alarming at all. It was a total surprise to us.”

>> Click here for additional coverage and reader comments.
>> Commentary: The tainted legacy of ‘DJK’


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