Rutgers was handed a massive loss to their inter-conference rival No. 13 Penn State, at a score of 35-6.
Despite such an uneven score, Rutgers put up a good fight against Penn State, as the rushing defense kept Heisman-hopeful running back Saquon Barkley to just 35 yards on the ground on 14 carries. Rutgers’ rushing offense outdueled Penn State’s defense, as running backs Gus Edwards and Robert Martin had a total of 24 carries for 114 of Rutgers’ 157 total rushing yards. And while that bodes well for Rutgers in the present, it makes even the most casual Rutgers football fan a tad concerned.
Freshman Rahim Blackshear has proven to be a dangerous weapon for the Scarlet Knights, totaling 35 carries for 235 yards and three touchdowns on the season- but Rutgers relies heavily on a multi-back rotation, which means that it takes more than one running back for their rushing game to be efficient. With this year being Edwards’ and Martin’s last year in the program, Rutgers is going to need to find a complementary speed back to Blackshear’s power back running style.
Enter Rahmir Johnson.
Johnson is not set to become college-eligible for another year, making him a member of the 2019 recruiting class. However, as a junior at Bergen Catholic High School in Oradell, NJ, Johnson has shown to be past the competition in terms of talent, determination, and athleticism.
According to northjersey.com, despite suffering a shoulder injury in practice prior to Bergen Catholic’s November 4th game against Seton Hall Prep, Johnson came back to play the following week against St. Augustine, helping Bergen Catholic come back in the second half by scoring a much needed six-yard touchdown, one of five scored by Bergen Catholic in the second half.
As a 5’10, 175-pound running back, Johnson’s best trait has to be his speed. On his game film, Johnson’s easily the fastest man on the field. When he finds a hole (be it as a running back or special teams returner), Johnson hits it hard, often outrunning the competition. Give him a corner, he will turn it and leave you in the dust.
Johnson has also shown to be a major weapon in the passing game. He can catch coming out of the backfield and pick up enough speed to take it to the house. Johnson can also catch the occasional deep ball, easily outrunning defensive backs in coverage.
People think that being a speed back automatically equals incredible agility, as in, move fluidly like water by performing crazy moves against would-be defenders. Johnson will not break your ankles or knock you off your feet with any crazy spin moves or jukes. He will, however, mow you down with his trucking. Johnson is a tough back, willing to dish as much punishment as he receives.
The same thing can be said for his blocking. Johnson’s willingness to take large hits from 250-pound defensive players to keep his quarterback clean showcases his dedication to winning, no matter what. This could also signify an ability to lead a locker room by Johnson, something the Scarlet Knights will need soon.
Johnson has shown early that he is a deadly running back. He is fast, tough, and willing to do anything to help his team win, even take massive hits from heavy-weighted defenders.
Rutgers Head Coach Chris Ash would do well to focus his attention on acquiring Johnson for the 2019 recruiting class. That amount of skill and leadership can help turn the Scarlet Knights into definite contenders for years to come in the ever-competitive Big Ten conference.
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