Johnson puzzled by 2022 demotion, excited for new opportunities under Rhule

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Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 4:58 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 29, 2023 at 4:59 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Rahmir Johnson ranked among Nebraska’s rushing leaders during the 2021 season. He had 112 carries for 495 yards. Johnson seemed poised for a breakout sophomore season the following year. Instead, he spent most of 2022 on the Huskers’ bench.

“I don’t have the right answer,” Johnson said when asked about his lack of playing time. “I worked hard all year. I was available.”

Johnson carried the ball just 19 times last fall with 12 rushing attempts coming in Nebraska’s season finale win over Iowa. Johnson spent contributed for the Huskers as a sophomore, but mostly on special teams.

“I can’t dwell on the past,” Johnson said. “Gotta look forward.”

Ahead is an opportunity to regain a prominent role on the team. The 5-foot-10 running back believes his skill set is perfect for Nebraska’s offense under new head coach Matt Rhule.

“I’ve been really, really happy with (Rahmir),” Rhule said. “I’ve been happy with him all off-season. I think he’s had a really, really good camp. Christian McCaffrey used to say to me, ‘The best players play loud.’ Rahmir has been playing loud.”

Rhule described Johnson as “coachable” with the ability to run inside, outside, and catch the football. The New Jersey native said he’s enjoyed working with the new staff and returning to the practice field. Johnson’s position coach, EJ Barthel, coincidentally recruited the talented running back while he was in high school.

“It is what it is,” Johnson said. “I’m here now looking forward to the season. Whatever gets me on the field, that’s what I want to do.”