RB Duke Johnson is everything you could want in a young running back. The 5-9, 190-pounder remains humble at heart, unfazed by high expectations and the hype of his arrival, eager to learn and a privilege to coach. The freshman from Miami’s own backyard, Miami Norland to be exact, made his long awaited debut at Boston College and boy did he impress.
However, Duke’s journey to Miami is really quite simple. Amid the firing of Randy Shannon and the infamous “Nevingate,” Johnson never wavered his commitment to the ‘Canes. He took minimal official visits and he was the anchor of the 2012 class. Johnson always made sure to advertise his future school and he was continuously in the ears of his fellow recruits.
Coming out of Norland, Johnson was a five-star recruit and one of the top-five running backs in the nation. He possesses speed, vision and balance. Yet, some remained suspicious of his size.
Johnson led Norland to the State Championship Game in 2011, scoring a total of five touchdowns in the process. He finished his senior season with over 2,000 rushing yards, 1,300 in the playoffs alone.
Aside from Miami, Johnson held offers from Louisville, Florida, Texas and West Virginia to name a few.
The freshman was named ACC Rookie of the Week following his breakthrough performance at Boston College. Johnson rushed for a staggering 135 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries. He scored on two runs, one of 54-yards and the other a 56-yarder. According to the Sun Sentinel, “Ex-’Cane Devin Hester got in touch with Johnson’s mother after the game. He offered tips for kickoff returns. ‘Look for the crease,’ was relayed in the message.” But despite all of the publicity, Johnson says he’s “not into the scene and the spotlight.”
So what else can we expect from Johnson this season? Many believe that he should replace current starter Mike James. After releasing the latest depth chart, Golden insisted that James will remain the go-to-guy, followed by Johnson and Clements. There has been some concern as to whether or not Johnson’s young body can sustain the strains that come along with starting. Is he able to handle 20 carries a game? Maybe not right now, but don’t you worry – we will all get our dose of the Duke. We can rest assured that Johnson will see the field, albeit gradually.
Nothing is better than having a talented pool of running backs. If the depth is there, why not use them all?
In other news:
RB Mike James is seeking to redeem himself following his performance at Boston College. Last year vs. K-State, James failed to find the end-zone on two separate occasions, both from the 2-yard line. James said that he is looking forward to the challenge of going to K-State and cannot dwell on last years game.
As for James’ performance at Boston College, “…I ran well, blocked well so that was good. I want to hit some more big runs, that’s about it…You just want to stay alert and be ready for anything.”
Don’t worry Mr. James, there will be plenty of opportunities for you step-up.