Auburn, Ala.--Following an impressive freshman season for the Auburn Tigers despite battling through some shoulder injuries the second half of the season, running back Kerryon Johnson had minor surgery last week to clean up some damage to his shoulder according to a source and will likely be held out of contact practices this spring. He is expected to be back to full strength in plenty of time to be ready for his sophomore season.
Last season Johnson ran for 208 yards and scored three touchdowns on just 52 carries and became Auburn's primary wildcat ball carrier the second half of the year. Also a very dependable receiver, Johnson caught 14 passes for 159 yards for the Tigers in 2015. One of the biggest plays of the year for him came in the bowl game when he caught a 37-yard pass from punter Kevin Phillips in the Birmingham Bowl to set up Auburn's first points of the game in the win over Memphis.
With Johnson possibly held out of contact this spring and the loss of Peyton Barber after last year's leading rusher declared for the NFL Draft, Auburn is left with just three scholarship running backs for the spring. That list includes incoming freshman Malik Miller, himself coming off knee surgery during his senior season at Madison Academy. He's expected to be close to full speed for spring practices, but he could be limited in contact work as well.
That means returning senior Jovon Robinson and junior Roc Thomas should get plenty of work for the Tigers as both tries to earn the No. 1 spot heading into the summer. Following a slow start in his first year on the Plains, Robinson finished second on the team with 639 yards and averaged a healthy 5.5 yards per carry. Thomas was even more dynamic, averaging 6.1 yard per attempt on just 43 attempts a season ago.