At Miami Hurricanes home games this year, a new sound can be heard often. As a huge fan, I am getting quite used to it.
Though it almost sounds like boos, the chant is actually a prolonged "Duke," referring to freshman running back Duke Johnson, who has come on to the scene and made an immediate impact with the Hurricanes. While it is impressive enough to see such a young player make such a big splash, it is even more impressive to think that he might just go down as the best running back to ever play for the University of Miami.
Impressive Stats Already
Taking a quick glance at Duke Johnson's stats it is easy to see why I feel he might become the best ever at the running back position for The U. In only his first eight games he has already racked up 455 yards on the ground with five rushing touchdowns. Of course, it can't be overlooked that he also has 201 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown as well as 447 kick return yards with yet another touchdown for his efforts. In all, he has well over 1,000 all-purpose yards with seven total touchdowns. Again, he is only a freshman. He has also done this while officially being listed as the Np. 2 running back on the depth chart behind senior Mike James.
Chasing the Greatest
If there is a position that the Miami Hurricanes are rarely thin on, it is running back. While Johnson is certainly showing that he is more than capable of being discussed as one of the best running backs to ever play for the Canes, to be the best he'll have some big shoes to fill. As it stands now, the most receiving yards for a Canes carrier belongs to Ottis Anderson, who rushed for 3,331 career yards before he left Miami.
Even if Johnson can't get the most rushing yards for a career and hopes to simply beat the single-season mark, that too will be tough. That record is held by former Hurricanes great Willis McGahee, who rushed for an unbelievable 1,753 yards in 2002.
How Long Will He Stay?
Of course, a lot Johnson's record-setting chances will depend on how long he stays with the Canes. Many players these days jump ship early and enter the NFL draft, some as early as the end of their sophomore season. While he might very well break the single-season record for most rushing yards before he is a senior, breaking Ottis Anderson's mark without playing four years might prove to be a tough task.
As a fan of the Canes, I hope he does stick around and would love nothing more than to see him run all over the competition while on his way to becoming the best running back the University of Miami has ever seen.
Jimmy Collins has been a loyal fan of "The U" since he was a child attending games at the original Orange Bowl. Still a resident of South Florida, he attends numerous Miami Hurricanes games each season and enjoys writing about NCAA Football and the Miami Hurricanes in particular.
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