Loganville’s Storm Johnson knew he was stepping into a highly competitive situation when he signed with Miami. He hadn’t really considered what a challenge day-to-day life was going to be.
“Man, it’s been hectic, been busy,” said Johnson, an early enrollee for the Hurricanes. “Always got to be somewhere, either at workouts or at school or at football. You’re always on the move from the time you wake up. So it’s always cooking, something is always going on.”
Johnson is proving he can keep up. In fact, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound running back has been one of the big surprises of the spring for Miami, which holds its spring game Saturday. Johnson led all running backs in the Hurricanes’ last intrasquad scrimmage of the spring.
Johnson busted loose for 104 yards on 10 carries — including runs of 52 and 29 yards — and had a six-yard touchdown. He also hauled in two passes for another 14 yards.
“It’s still just playing football,” said Johnson, who has been enrolled at Miami since Jan. 21. “The hardest part about it is learning the plays, learning the playbook. But everything went smoothly after I started catching on. Everything went better as it went along. I was able to get after it and just run the football after that.”
The Hurricanes will wrap up spring practice with their spring game Saturday.
Standing out is not easy with all the tailbacks on the Miami roster. The Hurricanes return two backs, Graig Cooper and Damien Berry, who combined for more than 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns last season (Cooper’s currently out with a knee injury suffered in the bowl game and Berry has been limited with a hamstring injury). They also have a sophomore in Mike James who is advertised as a star-in-the-making.
Add to that redshirt freshman Lamar Miller and three freshman signees other than Johnson — Eduardo Clements, Maurice Hagens and Darion Hall — and it’s clear it is a crowded situation in the Hurricanes’ backfield.
“It’s competition,” said Johnson, an Under Armour All-American who rushed for 1,937 yards and 31 touchdowns in 11 games as a senior at Loganville. “We compete every day, all the time. We get after it. But we don’t look at ourselves as individuals. We’re always a unit.”
Johnson said he has no idea where he stands on the depth chart or if he’ll even play next season.
“They haven’t classified anybody for the No. 1 spot,” he said. “Everybody here is a great tailback. Everybody’s good. Right now everybody’s just rotating in and out. We probably won’t find out about the depth chart until summer ball when everybody is here.”
Meanwhile, Johnson is just trying to get used to college life far away from home.
“I’ve been able to ease in,” he said. “I’m not taking the hardest classes right now. They make it easy for us. You’ve got study hall. You’ve got people helping you and stuff, so we’re able to get it all done. The biggest thing is managing the time between everything else you have to do.”
Johnson is rooming with Malcom Bunche, an freshman offensive lineman from Delaware. He doesn’t have a car but was able to get home last week for spring break.
“I miss home sometimes, but right now it’s like I’m at work,” Johnson said. “And it’s a fun place to be in school. It’s great weather all the time so you can’t help but be happy.”
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