The Miami Hurricanes have a history of producing great players that have gone on to have success in the NFL, especially at running back. Players include Edgerrin James, Frank Gore, and Willis McGahee.
Running back Duke Johnson will look to try and follow in their footsteps.
After starting the 2013 season strong, Johnson had his year end due to an ankle injury against Florida State. Johnson finished the season with 920 rushing yards while averaging 6.3 yards per carry and had six touchdowns.
This wasn’t just a fluke though.
In 2012, Johnson started five and out of the 12 games for the Hurricanes and finished the season with 947 yards rushing and averaged 6.8 yards a carry while tacking on ten touchdowns.
Johnson has shown the ability to explode for big plays, and it doesn’t have to be on offense.
As a kick returner in 2012, Johnson had 892 yards on 27 returns for the Hurricanes for an average of 33 yards per touch and returning two of those returns for touchdowns. The Hurricanes know that getting the ball into a playmaker’s hands is the best way to score points, and having Johnson as a kick returner has shown that they have recognized his ability.
Johnson’s impact on the Hurricanes had a lasting effect after he had to sit out the rest of the year due to injury. Before the Florida State game, the Hurricanes were 7-0 with Johnson in the lineup in 2013. After losing Johnson, the Hurricanes finished 2-4 with an overall record of 9-4.
Coincidence? Most likely yes.
When you see the film on Johnson, he plays with great speed and has great vision at the line of scrimmage to break through to the second level of the defense. He has quick moves and always finds a way to pick up extra yards after taking a hit.
Johnson was looked at as not only of the top running backs in the ACC, but in the country. Coming out of Miami Norland high school, Johnson was one of the top ranked running back in the country. Johnson’s quick speed is one that can easily translate to the NFL as his speed is one that compares to the like of former Tennessee Titan and now New York Jets running back Chris Johnson.
Ever since joining the ACC in 2004, the Hurricanes have not won a title since competing against the opponents in the tougher conference.
Johnson will look to do anything he can to change that this season.