Football season will be here before you know it. Through the dog days of summer, we’re going to get you prepared with a series on some of the best players Texas will face in 2018.
Who is he?
Maryland’s running back is switching jersey numbers, but don’t be fooled during the season opener. Ty Johnson — now No. 24 rather than No. 6 — will still be the one trying to dash through holes in the Texas defense. He was quite successful in last year’s season opener.
After hot start, Johnson cooled off as the 2017 season wore on. He finished with 875 yards and five touchdowns on 137 attempts, but never reached 100 yards in a single game after September. A 1,000-yard rusher two years ago, he’ll be looking to get back in that club. The Terrapins have reason to want him to get back there, too. Johnson’s four highest rushing totals – against Texas, Towson, Minnesota and Indiana – came his team’s only four wins.
What should the Longhorns watch for?
There’s a new offensive coordinator in College Park, and he’s been known to work his running backs. Matt Canada arrived after one year at LSU. His offenses the past two seasons both featured running backs (Derrius Guice at LSU and James Conner at Pitt) with more than 200 carries and 1,000 yards.
That should be a welcome change for Johnson, who carried the ball 15 times only twice last season. Look for the Terps to give him a heavy workload in the first game, assuming he can break off some big runs early like he did last season. He’s also a danger on special teams, exemplified by his 100-yard kickoff return against Ohio State.
As mentioned above, Johnson had a big day against the Longhorns in 2017. He went for 132 yards on 12 carries, and his third-quarter touchdown — set up by his own long kick return — was a back-breaker.
THAT'S THE GUY WHO LED THE NATION IN YARDS PER CARRY pic.twitter.com/OUwdrDWxZl
— Terps Watch (@TerpsWatch) September 2, 2017
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