More Than RB No.2, Texas' Johnson Proving to be Longhorns' Leader

Although the attention will be on Bjian Robinson, Roschon Johnson will be a leader for the locker room
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Leaders don't have to say much to command the attention of a room. It's the words they say that leave a lasting impact on those before entering the field. 

Who knows in Steve Sarkisian's offense how much Roschon Johnson will be used. The quarterback-turned-running back might be a third-down runner only. A change of pace player. Someone who chews the clock. 

His role on the field still has yet to be determined. Off of it? Teammates already see him as one of Texas' leaders for the 2021 season. 

"He's very vocal and he's vocal everybody listens because when he talks, it actually means something," Wide receiver Jordan Whittington said Tuesday. "He's correcting you on what you messed up on and he's going to tell you why." 

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Johnson might possess those skills from his days under center. As a quarterback for Port Neches-Groves, he commanded respect and perfection for the Indians' offense. 

It was his speed that enticed former coach Tom Herman to approach Johnson to help in the run game. The Longhorns were limited in depth and needed to get the quarterback involved in some way. 

Without question, Johnson stepped into the role as the team's No. 2 runner. Now with a new staff, he's proven to be the presence that has set the tone this spring.

"He's a loud, energetic type of player that a lot of people listen too for all of us," Running back Bijan Robinson said. "How we are on the field, they see the example. Where he does get  very energetic or fired up, it affects the whole team, especially in the running back room." 

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Each season, Johnson has proved his strengths of making defenders miss in the open field have grown. In 2019, he recorded 649 rushing yards on 123 carries with eight total touchdowns. A year later with Robinson, he tallied 418 yards on 80 carries and scored seven total touchdowns. 

Johnson will still remain an internal part of the offense despite Herman's departure. Sarkisian elected to keep running backs coach Stan Drayton on staff for the season. Texas also is expecting big things from Robinson following an impressive closing of the 2020 campaign. 

Even with a season at the next level under his belt, Robinson continues to learn every day alongside Johnson. It's a relationship built off competition, with each runner looking to outdo the other. 

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"Roschon is always pushing me to be the best player I can be. I feel I push him as well," Robinson said. "Even in the room, coach Drayton is harping on us to make each other better, no matter what the situation is, and make the team better." 

Throughout the spring, Sarkisian has mentioned Johnson more than once. In fact, his name appears at least once a presser, always in a positive light after another day of practice. 

A full offseason should benefit the Longhorns' offense after missing last spring due to COVID-19. The best man for the job will earn the starting reps, and Sarkisian will have ample time to figure out the roles. 

One role that has already been established is Johnson's vocal presence. No matter the snaps he receives, best believe his teammates will be counting on him to bring the intensity before taking the field and going to battle. 

"You believe him because you can trust him," Whittington said. "A lot of people won't follow a leader they can't trust and I feel like everyone on this team trusts Roschon."  

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CONTINUE READING: Texas Football Spring Notes: Scrimmage No. 2 Focuses on Wide Receiver Talent