Miami running back Duke Johnson has played his last college football game. The Hurricanes running back has officially declared for the 2015 NFL Draft, although his mother spilled the beans a day ago.
Johnson leaving Miami early for a shot at the NFL is absolutely no surprise. The running back has accomplished a tremendous amount at Miami and has little left to prove at the college level. Given the falling stock for running backs in the NFL and the relatively short lifespan of a running back’s career, it makes plenty of sense for Johnson to enter the league now while he is still a valuable asset to any NFL franchise looking for a running back. Johnson told reporters Sunday morning he made his decision before the team left for the Independence Bowl
The decision to leave early is often a complicated one, and it is still something that has not quite hit Johnson fewer than 24 hours after his final game for The U.
Duke: “It hasn’t really hit me yet. I’m still just a kid in college. I don’t think me leaving this city & living somewhere else .. has hit.”
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) December 28, 2014
Johnson leaves behind him a very respectable list of accomplishments at Miami. Johnson set the Miami school records for most rushing yards for a career (3,519 yards, passing Ottis Anderson), yards per carry (6.69, previously held by Edgerrin James), all-purpose yards (5,526 yards, previously held by Santana Moss), and multiple kick return records. He also tied school records for most career 100-yard games (14, tied with Clinton Portis), consecutive 100-yard games (6, tied with Willis McGahee and Edgerrin James), longest run from scrimmage (90 yards, tied with Jake Losch) and most career kick return touchdowns (2, tied with Tim Morgan, Ottis Anderson and Devin Hester).
Johnson played through two seasons that saw a dark cloud hover over the program prohibiting Miami from playing in a postseason bowl game. If there was ever a bright spot in the program during a tough few seasons, it was Johnson.