Penn State running back Saquon Barkley received a lot of love this offseason. And for good reason.

The Nittany Lion ran for 1,496 yards and 18 touchdowns as a sophomore. He also had an outstanding performance against the USC Trojans in the Rose Bowl, in which he ran for 194 yards and two touchdowns while adding 55 yards and a score in the passing game.

That type of performance earned Barkley some offseason Heisman love. However, after two weeks into the season, there is another B1G back who deserves some attention.

Earlier this summer, Maryland back Ty Johnson was named to the Doak Walker Award watch list, which is annually given to the nation’s top running back. Johnson enjoyed a breakout season in 2016.  As a sophomore, Johnson ran for 1,006 yards and six touchdowns.

Johnson is one of the most electric players to come through College Park in quite some time. However, the back did not have the smoothest start of the year averaging just 43 rushing yards over the first three games last season. Plus, Johnson only registered double-digit carries in three games in 2016, and two of them came in the final two games.

In games against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the Boston College Eagles, Johnson ran for 327 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. He also caught 16 passes for 206 yards, including a 66-yard reception for a score against Penn State.

Two statistics that summed how explosive Johnson was last season was his yards per carry and his multiple long runs he totaled. Johnson averaged 9.1 per attempt last year, which led the nation, and he had 10 runs of 40 yards or more, all i  Maryland’s last 10 games. So, in simple terms, Johnson is one cut away from an explosive play.

So it appeared that Johnson was finally earning the respect of the college football world. However, after the first two games this year, it seems like he has not earned the total respect he deserves.

Johnson has been more electrifying than last year.

Through two games, Johnson has ran for 257 yards and three touchdowns on just 17 carries. That is an average of 15.1 yards per carry, which is beyond ridiculous. That would lead the nation, if Johnson had enough carries to qualify.

During the Terrapins’ second game of the year against the Towson Tigers, Johnson ran for 124 yards on just five carries including this highlight-reel run:


That gave him an average 24.8 yards per carry, which is only his second most impressive outing as he totaled 204 yards on seven carries (29.1 yards per carry) against the Purdue Boilermakers last season.

Looking at Maryland’s remaining schedules, it is possible that Johnson keeps up his production. The only games that he may experience some hiccups is against Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State. Other than that, Johnson has the potential to run all over the B1G.

While having the talent to produce exceptional numbers this year, Johnson should receive more carries this season than last due to the Terrapins’ quarterback situation.

In the season opener against Texas, starting signal caller Tyrell Pigrome went down with a season ending injury. That means freshman Kasim Hill will be Maryland’s starter for the rest of the year.

Typically, you a coach doesn’t like to throw all of the playbook at a freshman quarterback. They like to ease a newbie gunslinger into the offense, which means handing the ball off more. So in summary, Johnson should get more carries in 2017 than he did 2016 because Hill is now the starter.

Coming into the season, Ohio State’s Mike Weber, Minnesota’s Rodney Smith and Iowa’s Akrum Wadley all received love as the conference’s second best back. But at this point, combined with what Johnson did in 2016, it is safe to say Johnson is the B1G’s second best back. However, it is also safe to say the Terrapin back the most explosive player in the B1G not wearing No. 26 for Penn State and is quietly one of the best backs in all of college football.