Northern Illinois vs. Nebraska, 9.14

Nebraska running back Rahmir Johnson (14) gets tackled by Northern Illinois' Vinny Labus in the fourth quarter on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Rahmir Johnson's response to the line of questioning was quick, which is fitting.

Who are the fastest players on the Nebraska football team?

Without hesitation, Johnson put himself among the top three along with senior receiver Mike Williams and junior cornerback Dicaprio Bootle.

That's his read, anyway.

They haven't raced, said Johnson, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound running back from Oradell, New Jersey.

However, "Anytime they're ready, I'd be down," he said.

No surprise there. Johnson was a noted speedster at Bergen Catholic High School, with career bests of 10.50 seconds in the 100 and :21.46 in the 200. He won sectional titles in both the 100 and 200 in high school in New Jersey.

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He said he plans to run track for Nebraska during the outdoor season. Make no mistake, though, he has football on his mind at the moment, particularly after experiencing his first college action Saturday in a 44-8 win against Northern Illinois. He carried three times for 9 yards late in the game after the outcome had been decided.

"It was just good to play against another defense besides our defense," he said. "I haven't played against another team since December (in high school), so it felt good to get the feel for the college football life. I was happy."

He said the pace of Nebraska's practices is much faster than he encountered at Bergen Catholic, a powerhouse program. He appreciates the encouragement he gets from Nebraska head coach Scott Frost and running backs coach Ryan Held.

Johnson drew frequent praise from Held throughout August after arriving in Lincoln over the summer.

"Every day at practice, he's making sure I get the plays down pat, making sure I'm moving fast, making sure I'm using my speed, which is my key," Johnson said. "He's always on me every day, telling me to be ready, that they'll get me in (games) eventually.

"I'm just working hard, waiting for my time to come."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.


Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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