Johnathan Joseph, a long time NFL cornerback and former Gamecock, announced his retirement Thursday via Twitter. Joseph was a 15 year NFL veteran who had a solid career with teams like the Cincinnati Bengals and the Houston Texans.
Joseph started his career in the JUCO route at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. He was a three star recruit coming out of JUCO, and he only had offers from South Carolina and Florida. He chose South Carolina, and he became a key part of Lou Holtz’ defense in Holtz’ last year as head coach.
In his first year, he broke his foot in week two. He sat out the rest of the year with his injury. In his Junior year, he showed just how good of a cornerback he was. That was also Steve Spurrier’s first year as head coach. Joseph finished that year with 55 tackles, nine pass breakups, four interceptions and a defensive touchdown.
Joseph declared for the draft after his Junior year, and he wasn’t expected to go very high in the draft since he only played one year of division one football. His strong combine performance caught the attention of multiple teams, and he became one of the top cornerbacks in the class.
Joseph was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals at number 24 overall in 2006. Joseph was the second Gamecock cornerback to be drafted in the first round behind Dunta Robinson in 2004.
Joseph went on to have a decorated career with both the Bengals and Texans. He was a starting cornerback every year from 2006 until last year.
In 2011, Joseph signed a major five year contract with the Texans, and it paid off for Houston. Joseph was selected to the Pro Bowl in both 2011 and 2012.
Joseph still played the 2020 season at the age of 36. Joseph signed with the Titans in the 2020 offseason but was released midway through the season. He then finished the year with the Cardinals before being injured.
Joseph retired with two Pro Bowls and two All-Pro selections. Joseph was also first in the line of elite defensive backs from the Spurrier era.