The much-publicized group chat between the entire 2019 recruiting class has Rahmir Johnson’s phone constantly buzzing. Everyone’s active, except the Bergen Catholic running back. Too busy, he says.
Husker running back coach Ryan Held is texting him too — the two talk almost every day, either by text or on the phone. “Can’t wait for you to get here.” “Hope you’re getting ready for the season and studying the plays.” “Can’t wait to get the show on the road.” Held keeps his messages short. He knows Johnson has been on the run for pretty much his entire senior season.
Heading into his final high school football season, Johnson had a few individual goals.
“Rushing for 1,000 yards, winning games when my team needed me the most and just doing everything I can to help my team win games,” he told Hail Varsity. “Something I wanted to improve was leadership and being able to be there for my teammates in times where we’re in trouble and they need somebody to talk them into being confident.”
Bergen Catholic lost its starting running back — Yale-bound senior Josh McKenzie — in the summer to a knee injury that cost him the entire year. A guy who had averaged 6.3 yards a carry the season before was now out of the picture and Johnson had to step up. Which he did, to the tune of 6.3 yards per carry, 1,334 yards and 11 touchdowns as the workhorse back.
“The football season this year, I think it went pretty well despite all the adversity my team had to go through with injuries,” he said.
Johnson helped lead the Crusaders to a 10-2 record and the Non-Public Group 4 Final.
Then track season started. Johnson participates the 100, the 200, the 400, the long jump, the 4×100 relay and the 4×400 relay. He’s run a 10.86 100 and a 21.64 200 (both of which won him events).
“Throughout my high school career, I never really utilized my speed as much as I should have,” he said. “So, my senior year I really used my speed to my advantage.”
He worked hard at developing that breakaway speed Held is always looking for.
And when he wasn’t running, he was in the Husker playbook. He got it in December. He studies it every day.
“I’m pretty good with the playbook,” he said. “It just takes time and repetition to get it down pat. I think I’m going to be fine. … I’m not going to have the practices (some of the other new guys) have gotten but I’ve been studying and it’s definitely helped me memorize so as soon as I’m on campus and the practice field, I can understand what the coaches are throwing up, what the signals are and what they’re saying, so I can keep up with the other guys.”
Johnson weighs 180 at the moment. The Husker coaching staff wants him around 195. When he gets on campus on June 7, he’ll be Zach Duval’s to work with. It’s more than likely he won’t have to be the guy during his freshman season, but it would also probably come as a shock if Johnson didn’t at least contribute.
Which is all he wants.
“I just want to do whatever I can to help the team win,” he said. “So, definitely be a starter or be on the depth chart — that’s one of my goals — score a touchdown as a college football and just be that all-around teammate.”
While Dedrick Mills has been the main talking point around Husker football in recent weeks, Johnson has flown a little under-the-radar. That’s been common since signing with the Huskers back in December of 2018, but it doesn’t seem to bother Johnson.
“Not at all,” he said. “I just can’t wait to come on campus and show people what I’m made of. I’m a hard-working guy so I just use my talents and trust in what I can do and hopefully people will catch it and see it and I’ll go from there.”
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.