AP Poll national champion Johnson was a promising football prospect and received offers from many Division I collegiate programs. He decided on a full scholarship from the University of Miami , playing defensive tackle. In , he was on the Miami Hurricanes' national championship team. While attending Miami, Johnson met his future wife, Dany Garcia, who graduated from the university in and later became a member of its Board of Trustees. He was on the practice roster as a backup linebacker, but was cut two months into the season. He debuted on Monday Night Raw as a member of Marc Mero 's entourage on November 4,  and had his first match at Survivor Series on November 17, in an eight-man elimination tag match ; he was the sole survivor by single-handedly eliminating Crush and Goldust.