Kerryon Johnson Hoping to Show He Can Carry Heavier Load for the Football Tigers

Kerryon Johnson led the Auburn football team in carries and rushing yards in game one of the 2016 season.

Kerryon Johnson (above) is listed as the first stringer at running back for the Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--Carrying the football 23 times vs. Clemson and looking as strong late in the game as he did early, Auburn sophomore Kerryon Johnson said he felt good about how he performed in his expanded role for the Tigers.

Last season his busiest game as a running back came against Kentucky when he ran the football nine times for 36 yards and his first college touchdown, a six-yard run in Auburn’s victory at Lexington.

On Saturday vs. Clemson he scored his fourth collegiate touchdown on a run of nine yards and finished the night with 94 yards on the ground.

“I feel like I definitely, at least, gave people a showing of what I? actually can do,” Johnson said when asked about his stamina as a running back.

“It is a long season so that still has to be answered,” the running back added. “Once I get through this season I feel like that question will be put to rest, but for now I feel like I played a pretty good game. I got a lot of carries and just did what I had to do with them.”

After dropping a 19-13 decision to Clemson in the opener, Auburn will take on Arkansas State on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Red Wolves, 31-10 losers to Toledo, will also be looking for their initial victory of the season after winning the Sun Belt Conference title in 2015.

Asked how he felt after a physical game with a lot more opportunities to run the football than last year, Johnson said, “I was sore. Obviously, you don’t play running back in this league without being sore, but now I feel pretty good. Just ice tub, treatment and taking care of your body is what you have to do, regardless of position, regardless of how many times you play. It is a long season--you can’t afford not to.

“I felt pretty good," Johnson added. “I was satisfied with the performance and I have just got to build off of it.”

Auburn has a streak of eight seasons with a 1,000-yard rusher. Only Oregon, at nine, has more among major college football programs.

Asked if he believes he is the guy who can help Auburn extend its streak, Johnson said, “I feel like I can have a season of that caliber, but it is one thing to say it and another thing to do it.

“I can say that, but I just have to go back to work this week, next, the week after that just to prove it,” the former Alabama Mr. Football said.

Photo by Jason Caldwell

Kerryon Johnson is a sophomore who led Madison Academy to three state championships before coming to Auburn.

Johnson and his Tigers had their second practice of the week on Tuesday evening and will continue on the field preparations on Wednesday and Thursday for a visit from Arkansas State.

Auburn leads the series 3-0 vs. the Red Wolves with the last meeting a 38-9 contest in 2013. Kickoff for Saturday’s game is set for 6:30 p.m. CDT with TV coverage on the SEC Network.

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