One of the key selling points for Texas to grab former Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian was his success with the arsenal. Alabama finished with the No. 2 scoring offense last season with Mac Jones under center.
The reason the Crimson Tide marched towards a 13-0 season and an average of 48.5 points per game? Weapons galore. Best believe the Longhorns are expecting similar production on the Forty Acres.
Any wide receiver can be made a superstar based on quarterback play. As for running backs? Even they are starting to dwindle at the collegiate level.
Not at Alabama.
Najee Harris might have earned the title for the RB1 in Crimson Tide history after his success on the ground in 2020. In just 10 regular-season games, the now-Steelers lead back recorded 22 rushing touchdowns, finishing with 29 total on the season.
In the same amount of games, former Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry found the end zone just 19 times and a mere 28 on his campaign. Needless to say, the ground game is important for Sarkisian.
Will it be a game-changer in 2021 though?
In our new series on Longhorn Country, we will be breaking down the top 10 names to watch for during the 2021 season. Some will be role-players, others will be full-fledged starters. Either way, each will be a benefactor to the success found in DKR.
Check out our other profiles already shown entering the summer months.
No. 6 - RB Roschon Johnson
The quick learners of Sarkisian's offense will see the most snaps come September. Perhaps the quickest learner on staff regardless of position is Johnson.
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A former quarterback, Johnson was asked back in 2019 to learn snaps in the backfield due to the lack of depth behind Keaontay Ingram. After all, the former Port Neches-Groves QB was a dual-threat player, rushing for over 4,900 yards when under center.
Once the plays were inside his head, Johnson didn't miss a beat. One could see he was natural at the role in more than just winning at the line of scrimmage. He would seal gaps as a pass blocker in no time. When asked to make plays out of the backfield, call it a done deal.
By 2020, the QB title was gone. Instead, RB2 is his vital role. However, one should not label him just a runner since the skills needed for Sarks' offensive approach will make him more than a ground and pound guy.
Standing a 6-foot-2 and weighing a mere 223 pounds, Johnson will ground it up the middle. Over the past two seasons, he's averaged at least 5.2 yards per carry, finishing with at least 100-plus rushing yard performance.
Unlike most big runners, Johnson isn't the stereotypical third-down back. Since moving from throwing the ball to now catching it, he has become effective in the receiving game. In 2019, he recorded 23 catches for an average of 6.9 yards per play.
In 2020, he recorded just eight catches for an average of 6.4. Then again, keep in mind that Texas did not have a target record of more than 30 catches on the campaign — with just three players recording more than 20.
The focus will be on Bijan Robinson when talking about Texas' backfield. It should be following the success of Year 1 and Heisman hopes growing in Year 2. However, much like in Tuscaloosa, the Longhorns are expected to trust the run game.
Harris averaged 19.3 carries per game as the lead back at Alabama. His backup, Brian Robinson, averaged nine per game, but still managed to average 5.3 yards per run.
The passing game should expand with Casey Thompson or Hudson Card. The wide receivers are expected to build off last season with a healthy Jake Smith and Troy Omerie returning. Still, Mac Jones connected 49 times with his running backs in the passing game.
Expect Johnson to at least double his yards on the ground while tripling his reception total as the perfect compliment for Robinson in 2021.
Do you think Johnson will be successful in 2021? Comment and join in on the discussion below!
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