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Miami Player Profile: Duke Johnson

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In an effort to keep even the most hardcore Miami fan up to date on their favorite players, SOTU will be running a Player Profile series. In these posts, our writers will profile two players from each position that they think should get more face time. They will recap their previous year, or in some cases, preview what may be to come. That way, when the season get's here, you hopefully will have a new found love for the team on the field.

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Duke Johnson

Junior - RB -5'9 206 - Miami, Fl

Has there been a better/more important player in recent years for UM than Duke Johnson?

Miami was 7-0 last year with Duke, but just 2-4 down the stretch after he broke his ankle in Week 8 Vs FSU.   In just 7 and a half games still totaled 920 yards rushing and 6 TDs on 6.3 yards per carry.

The former five star recruit from Norland H.S. was everything advertised and more as a freshman, gaining 947 yards on the ground, 10 TDs, and adding two more scores in the return game.

Combines great speed and vision with surprising power and one of the best stiff arms in all of College Football. Is also outstanding in blitz pick-ups,a receiving threat out of the backfield, and a scintillating return man.

Last season his one and only weakness appeared to be injuries, as he was banged up a few times even before his season ending injury.

Some highlights, because words do not quite do justice to how good #8 is:

Summary: There aren't enough superlatives in the dictionary to describe how 'Canes fans feel abut Duke. He is a modest, hard-working, homegrown talent who leaves it all on the field week in and week out. In a nutshell he is the heart and soul of the team.  Even FSU fans pay homage to the skill, effort, and character of Johnson. But can he make it through his Junior campaign healthy?  That seems to be the only concern. UM will likely throw some reps and carries to freshman sensation Joe Yearby, and bulldozing big back Gus Edwards, in an effort to keep DJ unscathed and fresh. Hopefully the strategy works.  Look for Stacy Coley, Corn Elder, and a few others to also lessen his load in the return game as well. But in key situations on offense and special teams, Miami will look to get the ball to Duke as much as possible.  He should amass 1,500 + yards and 10-15 scores on the ground with ease, if he plays in every game. And if the Hurricanes as a team, match his personal success, there is a good chance he ends up as a finalist for the Doak Walker as well as the Heisman. While team goals will always come first to the 'Canes fan base, they should really take in the personal achievements of Duke this coming season. If all goes to plan, I expect this to be his last season in Coral Gables.

Stay tuned for more player profiles as we count down to Labor Day Vs Louisville.