There are certain running backs that possess that extra gear. That special second-level speed that few others are able to match.
With the case of Miami Hurricanes commitment Chris Johnson, his speed was verified at 10.45 in the 100 meters earlier this year. That time helped Johnson win the 3A state championship.
As a member of the Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard program, Johnson’s speed was consistently on display, too. Here are observations from Johnson’s senior season on the gridiron.
While speed is what Johnson is known for, he possesses more natural running skills than many have given him credit for. Let’s start with vision.
Having seen Johnson up close during practice alone, and against several future college players from the same Dillard squad, Johnson went against top-notch competition day after day. He would often alter his path with a jump cut or stop-and-start move, helping to create a sliver of space that he would suddenly burst through.
Game days also showed him weaving his way through traffic. Do not allow Johnson’s 5-foot-11 and 180-pound to catch someone off guard. He is adept at running between the tackles, with power, and also capable of running through arm tackles and coming out the backside and still running. Of course he’s great on the perimeter.
If a defense loses containment versus Johnson, it’s lights out. It’s very rare for a player to run with this young running back in the open field. Whether a pitch play, option play, basic swing pass or screen, Johnson is deadly outside the tackle box.
Once in a Miami uniform, Canes fans can expect Johnson to use his speed in situations where he’s matching up with a linebacker. Advantage Hurricanes. Lastly, look for him to be moved around a bit.
At some point after he’s comfortable with the playbook, look for Johnson to line up out wide. This will force defenses to make a choice. Play a linebacker or safety against Johnson in space? Call timeout? Change the coverage to zone?
Again, this is a big advantage for Miami. Johnson’s all-around skills will allow the Miami coaching staff to use him in a myriad of ways, each of which giving the Canes a better chance to come up with a win.
Finally, he’s going to gain weight. Johnson provides a slender frame, for now, that should end up being in the 200-pound range in a couple of years. He’s going to break more and more tackles as time moves forward.
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