Versatility Of AU Offense Impresses Johnson

Four-star running back Kerryon Johnson talks about his visit to see the Auburn Tigers, what he likes about the offense, and gives a timetable for his decision.

Madison, Ala.--A four-star prospect and one of the top running backs in the country, athletic Kerryon Johnson made a return visit to see Coach Gus Malzahn and the Auburn Tigers on Saturday. Viewing a spring scrimmage and spending plenty of time with the rest of the coaching staff, Johnson said it was good to get back down and see Auburn once again.

"I'm at the point in the process that I really wanted to see where I would be used in the offenses," the 6-0, 197 Johnson said. "I did that with Alabama and I did that with Auburn. It was really impressive. He (Malzahn) got to show me a lot of things on the offense where I could be utilized. It answered a lot of questions and was really good."

With a top three of Auburn, Alabama and Florida State and adding there is still a slim chance that Georgia could get into the mix, Johnson said having the chance to visit and spend the day at each of his favorites is important in his process of narrowing things down eventually."

"It really helps you just to separate things," Johnson said. "When it's just you, you get to ask those questions that you need answered. You get to see a lot of things that you want to see and need to see. Everybody has really good facilities and championships, but now you get to see the real in-depth view of each school. That really helps you with a decision I think."

Kerryon Johnson

A player that has the ability to be a classic tailback, but also with the versatility to split out as a wide receiver if needed, Johnson could be used in a number of different ways in an offense. Because of that he said seeing all the dimensions available in Auburn's offense was big for him because it showed how well he would fit in to their plans.

"That's huge," Johnson said. "Being a versatile guy means you can create a lot of match-ups moving people around like that. For defenses, they can't run a base defense because they've got a lot of personnel groupings to match up with. It takes a little pounding off you too if you can get out there on the perimeter and catch a few passes and all that. It's a great offense to use players in space."

Even with all of the focus on moving him around on the offense, Johnson said the fact that Auburn is going to be a run-first team is still a key. Putting up huge numbers on the ground every season Malzahn has been on the Plains, when you throw in the coaching history of Horton it makes for a great combination.

"I knew they had a great rushing attack," Johnson said. "I knew they've had great running backs, but the things he showed me today, they were miles above where my brain was at. They have had multiple 1,000-yard rushers on the same team, even in that offense. Coach Horton has like five guys in the NFL and is about to be six with Tre Mason. They showed me a lot of things as far as running back goes and it just blew my mind. It was really good to see that and get that information."

Something else that Johnson enjoyed about his trip was getting the chance to sit down and talk with Horton once again. His position coach should he choose Auburn, Johnson said Horton is someone he believes in and that's important to him when the time comes to pick his future home.

"We have been talking since I was a freshman," Johnson said. "He has been recruiting me. He just impresses me more and more every time I see him. He's a really down-to-earth, family-oriented guy. He's somebody you feel like you could trust, that's what you need in a coach. He's a really trustworthy guy and a laid back and honest guy too. That's what I like about him."

With a consistent top three that he has kept for the better part of the last year, Johnson said his plans are to make a decision sometime before his senior year. Looking at making his pick sometime in May, he said he‘ll travel to Florida State next week before sitting back and weighing the pros and cons of each school. As for where Auburn stands he said they‘re definitely in the mix and the direction of the program is a huge draw for him.

"They're only going to go up," Johnson said. "They've got great history there and had a great year last year. I don't think there is going to be any fall-off. They're still going to have a good offensive line and the offense is going to be hard to handle. Their defense is getting better and better. A lot of spread teams don't really have a great defense, but they've got an SEC caliber defense and that really helps them be successful. The sky is the limit for them."

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