Continuing our look at some of the top running backs on the college football landscape, we’re going to dive in on Miami (FL) running back Duke Johnson, one of the best in the nation.
Johnson is a junior at Miami this season who played in just eight games last year and is coming off of an ankle injury suffered in November. He’s 5’9″ 206 pounds and has a lot of really positive qualities as a player, making him a legitimate potential top 40 prospect.
The first thing that jumps out about Johnson is his explosiveness through the hole. He has great vision to first of all see the hole, but then to speed through it and appear in the secondary before you can barely blink your eyes.
With Johnson’s combination of vision and explosiveness come a ton of big plays, resulting in a yard per carry average last season of 6.4 and his freshman season where he had 6.8.
Because of his low center of gravity, Johnson can bounce off tackles and accelerate upfield, picking up a ton of yardage after contact and making guys miss in the open field. He can go from zero to 60 in a flash and I saw in games a couple of times where he would bounce off a would-be tackler and break away from the rest of the defense and you’d be left wondering what had just happened.
This is a really well-rounded back with speed, explosiveness, and the ability to change directions on a dime. The spotlight is going to be on his health for the 2014 season, and if he’s able to prove he can stay on the field, I could see him being a second round pick.
He’s so gifted at getting through the hole quickly and then blazing by the second and third level of defense. I’m really excited to see how he progresses in 2014.
Here’s a video cutup of Johnson from the great folks at DraftBreakdown.com against Georgia Tech.