The battle for UCLA’s second starting cornerback lost a competitor this week as redshirt senior John Johnson will leave the program and pursue a graduate transfer opportunity, head coach Jim Mora announced Saturday.

“He’s not dissatisfied or anything like that, it’s really a career move for him,” Mora said. “It’s important for him to get his master’s somewhere and so he’s going to do that. So I wish him the best. We loved having him here, he’s a great kid and we wish him the best.”

Johnson, who had lined up as the starting cornerback opposite Nate Meadors in UCLA’s first two spring practices, has played in 18 games during his UCLA career with 27 tackles. He is planning to graduate with a degree in political science, which would allow him to play immediately at his next school while pursuing a master’s degree.

Johnson was part of UCLA’s vaunted 2013 recruiting class that was ranked within the top-five in the country. The former four-star recruit from Fresno did not play for his first two years in Westwood after suffering a major shoulder injury before his freshman season. He was the No. 8 cornerback in the country, according to Scout.com, coming out of high school.

Without the experience of Johnson, the Bruins have a young secondary. Early enrollee Darnay Holmes is already working his way through spring practice with the second unit. The Bruins will also welcome four more freshman defensive backs in the fall: four-star cornerback Elijah Gates and three-star defensive backs Morrell Osling, Jaylan Shaw and Quentin Lake.