Damien Martinez should be best Miami football RB since Duke Johnson

Oregon State transfer Damien Martinez should be the best running back for the Miami football program since all-time leading rusher Duke Johnson
Nov 11, 2023; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Oregon State Beavers running back Damien Martinez (6)
Nov 11, 2023; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Oregon State Beavers running back Damien Martinez (6) / Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon State transfer running back Damien Martinez should have the most rushing yards for the Miami football team since Duke Johnson ran for 1,652 yards in 2014. Johnson set the Miami career rushing yardage record during the 2014 season with 3,519 yards. Martinez ran for 1,185 yards and nine touchdowns in 2023.

Martinez ran for 982 yards and seven TDs in 2022 as a true freshman. Mark Walton, who ran for 1,117 yards with 14 TDs in 2016, is the last Miami 1,000-yard rusher. Travis Homer succeeded Walton as the starting RB. Homer ran for over 900 yards in 2017 and 2018 but was not able to top 1,000 yards.

Henry Parrish led Miami in rushing in each of the last two seasons. Parrish ran for 625 yards in 2022 and 616 in 2023. After transferring from Mississippi in 2022, Parrish returned to Oxford this spring. Parrish was the first player to lead Miami in rushing in consecutive seasons since Homer.

Martinez is the second-ranked 2024 transfer RB. Quinshon Judkins who transferred from Mississippi to Ohio State is the top-ranked transfer RB. Max Chadwick of Pro Football Focus named Martinez as one of his "10 running backs to know ahead of the 2025 NFL Draft" in a post published on Tuesday.

Miami leading rushers since 2015


2015 Joe Yearby


2016 Mark Walton


2017 Travis Homer


2018 Travis Homer


2019 DeeJay


2020 Cam'Ron Harris


2021 Jaylan Knighton


2022 Henry Parrish


2023 Henry Parish


Martinez will be a part of a balanced offense that allows him to run without opponents stacking the box. Cam Ward the the wide receiver trio of Sam Brown, Jacolby George and Xavier Restrepo projected to provide Miami with an exceptionally balanced and versatile offense in 2024.

At 6'0 and 232 pounds, Martinez can be a power and speed back. Per Chadwick, Martinez has 68 carries of 10 or more yards over the last two seasons. Martinez could be the highest-drafted Miami RB since Johnson was taken in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns.

dark. Next. PFF named Damien Martinez top 10 2025 NFL Draft RB prospect. PFF named Damien Martinez top 10 2025 NFL Draft RB prospect

Martinez will have a decision to make after the 2024 season with eligibility remaining through 2025. If Martinez and Miami play up to their 2024 projections, his draft stock should rise. Martinez can set a legacy for Miami in one season if the Hurricanes challenge for an ACC Championship Game berth and potential College Football Playoff appearance.