Nebraska football: The unlikely emergence of Rahmir Johnson
Nebraska running back Rahmir Johnson was buried on the bench, getting no more than 5 carries in any of the Huskers’ first 3 games and the 13 yards a game that came with them.
“He was probably fifth on the depth chart to start fall camp,” Nebraska head coach Scott Frost said Monday.
Not anymore. For the past 4 games, he’s been firmly planted as the starter.
“I have been saying all along, I am waiting for someone to step up and kind of take it,” Frost said Monday.
That happened in the Oklahoma game for Johnson, getting a start and rushing 11 times for 42 yards and adding 3 receptions for 48 yards.
“He has taken advantage of his chances,” Frost said.
Johnson was rewarded against Michigan State with a season-high 19 carries and Northwestern with 12 in a blowout, averaging 75 yards. Not to mention a hold on the top spot on the depth chart.
“He is running hard, making plays in the pass game,” Frost said. “We certainly need other guys to keep improving and give him some breaks, but really happy for Rahmir and how far he has come.”
On the first play against Michigan, Johnson took a screen pass 43 yards, establishing that he and the Huskers came to play. Johnson compiled a career-high 105 yards on 6 receptions, while adding 17 carries for 67 yards against the Wolverines.
“If you can’t get it on the ground, gotta get it with your hands,” Johnson said Saturday. “I was just trying to make plays any way I can. That was really my mindset in the game.”
And he did, adding a key 41-yard touchdown reception to the 43-yard run that closed the gap to 5 points.
“I was ready for it,” Johnson said. “I kind of lost it in the light, but found it. I knew he was going to place it in the right spot. So I was glad I got that play and scored that touchdown to change the momentum of the game.”
Now the trick is to turn that momentum into a win.
“We’ve been in a lot of tough games — close games, too — that we should have won,” Johnson said. “We’ve just got to find a way to win it.”
Perhaps patience should be the plan.
“When you are patient with some people sometimes they continue to improve and end up being good players,” Frost said.
And with enough progress among the roster, victories can’t be far behind.