Maryland Football: Ty Johnson could have an even bigger year in 2017

COLLEGE PARK, MD - SEPTEMBER 05: Running back Ty Johnson
COLLEGE PARK, MD - SEPTEMBER 05: Running back Ty Johnson /

There were few running backs in the Big Ten that were more explosive than Ty Johnson.

On Thursday, Johnson was named to the Doak Walker Award watch list, which is annually given to the top tailback in the country for his efforts on the field and in the classroom.

Johnson was one of nine Big Ten running backs that made the watch list. He joined the likes of Saquon Barkley (Penn State), Kendrick Foster (Illinois), Justin Jackson (Northwestern), Chris James (Wisconsin), LJ Scott (Michigan State) Bradrick Shaw (Wisconsin), Akrum Wadley (Iowa), and Mike Weber (Ohio State).

The former Fort Hill (Md.) standout averaged 9.1 yards-per-carry, which broke a 55-year Maryland record. Johnson ended up accumulating 1,249 all-purpose yards, 1,004 rushing yards, and six touchdowns.

Johnson also was the ninth Terrapin in program history to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season. It was the first time that a Maryland running back had reached the 1,000-yard plateau since 2008 when Da’Rel Scott rushed for 1,133 yards.

The 2016 season was even more impressive for Johnson because he only had 110 carries. In addition, he only registered double-digit carries in just three contests.

Johnson rushed for at least 142 yards in each of those games.

Maryland used the combination of Lorenzo Harrison and Johnson through the first nine games. Harrison registered 88 carries during that time and it was a timeshare in terms of how the workload was set up.

Harrison is still obviously going to get carries, but it’s hard to imagine Johnson not having a bigger workload this coming season. After all, Johnson’s 9.1 yards-per-carry was the best mark in the country a season ago.

There’s honestly few players in the Big Ten that are as explosive as Johnson. Whether it’s running the football or catching a pass out of the backfield, Johnson can find paydirt from 50-60 yards out.

Johnson’s vision is second to none. As Maryland fans saw several times last season, he only needs a slight crease to catapult his way into the secondary and he’s gone for a huge gain.

His game is obviously very much about speed. He’s not going to be the type of back that is going to run people over.

Having Harrison back for a full campaign will also help Johnson’s cause even more. That change of style between both backs should keep opposing teams off balance and could lead to bigger seasons for both players.

Being nominated for the Doak Walker Award is certainly no small feat. After all, these are some of the most prestigious tailbacks in college football.

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If Johnson gets a bigger workload in 2017, his numbers should be even more impressive that they were a season ago.