Posted by Adam Jacobi
Derrell Johnson-Koulianos (or "DJK," as he's commonly known), a charismatic and productive senior wide receiver who was dismissed from the Iowa football team after being arrested for numerous drug charges, may have a clean criminal record again in just 12 months. Last week, Johnson County prosecutors declined to pursue drug house charge, leaving just the possession charges. Now, as the Cedar Rapids Gazette reports, Johnson-Koulianos has pled guilty to marijuana possession in exchange for all the other charges being dropped.
Better yet for Johnson-Koulianos, the judge granted him a deferred judgment on the marijuana charge, meaning that if DJK stays out of trouble for 12 months while on unsupervised probation, the charge will be dropped:
Sixth Judicial District Associate Court Judge Stephen Gerard II said in the ruling that he granted the deferred judgment based on Johnson-Koulianos’ age, lack of prior record, absence of any weapons used in commission of the crime, and “greater opportunities for rehabilitation outside of a place of incarceration.”
Now, this is a college football blog and not a drug policy blog, so we'll keep this brief: it is refreshing to see a judge recognize that prison is no place for a non-violent, first-time drug offender, regardless of his or her football acumen or affiliation. The responsibility is squarely on DJK's shoulders to make sure he keeps up his end of the bargain, of course, but granting people in his situation responsibility is generally a much more positive decision for society as a whole than locking someone like that up for an extended period of time.
Past that, this ruling doesn't affect DJK's standing with the Hawkeyes in any material fashion. Kirk Ferentz closed the door on any further involvement between DJK and the football program back in December, and DJK has already moved to Chicago to train for the NFL Draft with EFT Sports Performance. He's also currently in Texas training for February's NFLPA Game (formerly "Texas vs. the Nation"). As to whether he'll be drafted, that's tough to say; arrests are always red flags in a NFL GM's eyes regardless of their resolution, and that executive-level paranoia only intensifies the closer the incident is to the draft itself. But as Iowa's all-time leading receiver, Johnson-Koulianos should at least be on several teams' radars, and if he's really got the talent to play at the next level, a roster spot is all he'll need.