LAURENS, S.C. (WSPA) – The long arm of the law comes in a large size in Laurens.

Police Officer Tayquon Johnson joined after his football playing days at Clemson were over.

Johnson played both the defensive and offensive lines for the Tigers from 2019 to 2021, but his original plan was a long way from football and police work.

“I wanted to be a veterinarian actually, believe it or not, but the schedule didn’t match,” Johnson said. “You stand out at Clemson, and you have a lot of responsibilities outside of your actual duty on the field and off the field. You’re a role model to very many people. And that schedule to be a vet just wasn’t there.”

Johnson is originally from Baltimore but said he was adopted at the age of 16 and moved to Williamsport, Maryland. His adoptive mother is a professor, and his father was the public safety director for the state of Maryland at one time. Johnson decided to follow the path to law enforcement.

He interviewed with Laurens Police and was hired in September 2022. Johnson completed the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy earlier this year. “It was a no-brainer after we had our first conversation,” LPD Chief Keith Grounsell said. “He had decisions that he made at a young age that put him where he is and got him through Clemson and brought them into law enforcement is I believe in my heart of hearts is a calling for this man.”

Johnson told us despite the glamour of playing college football, it’s a tough game.

“It’s very, very hard on your body. It’s hard on your mental ability to go through something like that, but the teammates that you have and the people that surround you, and the staff that’s at Clemson is better than any in the country.”

“It is very, very hard work and you know it builds character. You know, some of the most successful people in the world are in linemen,” Johnson told 7NEWS. “They are some of the smartest people on the field. We have to recognize defenses; we have to recognize offensively in order to play our ability to change the narrative of the game.”

Officer Johnson said he gets recognized frequently as being a former Tiger and that can be an asset. “It just it really makes my day because not only do people know who I am. It’s a source of trust. You already have that connection.”

He wants to do more than make a connection, he’s working to build relationships with young people in Laurens to help them have successful lives.

“A lot of the youth that are in this community they’re starting to believe in what we’re building here,” Johnson explained. “And Laurens and it’s starting to show we’re starting to have less problems out of juveniles. We’re starting to see less juveniles involved in violent crimes. But we still got to continue to do our job.”

This Laurens Police Officer has some very big goals down the road.

“I want to eventually move into a political field and hopefully eventually run for president one day. But right now, I’m living in and now I’m enjoying the moment and continuing to grow. So, that way when I do make my move (I’m) swinging for home runs.”