Talented 2016 Back Playing Well For Bulldogs

Physical runner Josh Johnson talks about his play for the Opelika Bulldogs as they head into the second round of the Class 6A playoffs.

Opelika, Ala.--Already with more than 1,000 yards and 17 touchdowns on the season despite missing two games early in his junior year because of a nagging shoulder problem, talented running back Josh Johnson was determined to keep grinding out the yards when the Bulldogs opened the Class 6A playoffs against Wetumpka last Friday night.

Pounding out an even 100 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns as Opelika buried the Indians 33-7 to advance to the second round this week where they will face Saraland. Transferring in from Russell County where he was a one-man offense as a sophomore, Johnson has become a weapon for a deep and experienced Bulldogs’ squad and he was just glad to do his part in getting a win.

“It was just a great performance for me and the offensive line,” the 5-9, 215 Johnson said. “I just want to thank the coaches for giving me that chance to get the ball and trusting me to make plays.”

Trust is something Johnson has been working to build since arriving at Opelika this year. Playing in an offense that struggled with consistency, he was often left trying to find his own running room on plays. That’s not the case for the Bulldogs with a veteran offensive line led by senior center Drew Kyser.

Josh Johnson runs for yardage against Wetumpka

Just scratching the surface of what he can be as a runner, according to Opelika Coach Brian Blackmon, Johnson said for him it’s a gradual process of becoming a complete back and part of that is learning to play within the system.

“I feel like I have played good so far, but I can play better,” Johnson said. “I have been bothered by a shoulder injury, but I’m going to be ready.

“I think I can trust my offensive line now,” he added. “Coming into the spring I could trust them, but I didn’t trust my tracks. That’s coming now. I had to learn to be patient. The coaches always say to trust the offensive line and they’ll get you to the promised land.”

Now with 1,115 yards on the ground and 19 touchdowns in just nine games, Johnson is a player that should start to see more and more college programs checking him out as he heads deeper into the playoffs and next year as a senior. Already getting interest from several schools he said that he hopes it’s just the start of something big for him.

“I’m hearing from Middle Tennessee State, Southern Miss, and UAB right now,” Johnson said. “I don’t have any offers yet. “Auburn, Mississippi State, Georgia, Kentucky, those are schools I would like to hear from.”

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