In an otherwise “normal” season opener for the Miami Hurricanes, the newest star for that historically dominant program may have emerged.
Running back Duke Johnson toted the ball 19 times for 186 yards and a touchdown in leading the Hurricanes to a 34-6 win over in-state rival Florida Atlantic. Johnson’s 9.8 yards per carry average on the night speaks for itself, but he also rattled off a highly impressive 53-yard run in the process, and showed flashes of incredible upside.
In 2012, Johnson rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns despite just 139 carries. However, he was being slept on in certain circles entering the 2013 season, but Friday’s performance, no matter who the opponent was, likely vaults Johnson into the national consciousness as a star. There are many more high-profile running backs (Todd Gurley of Georgia, for example), but I’m not sure that anyone has more pure talent than Duke Johnson.
Quarterback Stephen Morris, the much more “famous” Hurricanes player, threw for 160 yards and a touchdown, but the season opener certainly belonged to Johnson. We won’t know just how good Miami will be as a team until the competition level rises a bit (with no offense to Florida Atlantic), but they seem to be set in the backfield for the foreseeable future.