Rahmir Johnson clearly isn’t afraid of setting lofty goals on the track.

To wit, the Bergen Catholic (New Jersey) senior and Nebraska running back signee said recently that he aims to crack into the 10.2-second range in the 100 meters and go sub-21 seconds in the 200 in the coming weeks as his outdoor season heats up.

Come again? 10.2? Really?

“I think the 100 I can get and the 200 I’ll have down pat, for sure,” Johnson said. “It would be big, especially in (New Jersey) because that hasn’t been done in a long time.”

If he does post a sub-10.3 time, Johnson would be in rarefied air among the high school ranks. According to rankings from Athletic.net, only four high schoolers nationally have run sub-10.3 this spring and only six have hit 10.30 or better. Coincidentally, that list includes former Husker verbal commit and target Marquez Beason (Duncanville, Texas) who ran 10.30 on April 18.

And there’s plenty of reason to think Johnson can approach his goals, too. Start with last weekend’s Penn Relays, for example. Johnson ran the anchor leg of Bergen Catholic’s 4x400 and 4x100 teams. He didn’t have an individual split listed for the 4x100 (Bergen was down the stacked field some at 44.56 seconds) but ran a blistering 49.77 in the 4x400. That powered Bergen’s third-place finish at 3:29.98.

There’s no doubt the 5-foot-10, 175-pounder is fast. This spring, he’ll show just how fast.

Then, he’ll be off to Lincoln to see if he can catch on quickly in Nebraska’s backfield, too.

Johnson was on campus to take in the Red-White Spring Game earlier this month and saw up close and personal the question marks in Ryan Held’s position group. Nothing is given, of course, but the odds are that the Huskers need at least two of Johnson, junior college back Dedrick Mills or fellow incoming freshman Ronald Thompkins (Loganville, Georgia) to contribute right away even assuming Maurice Washington is available and healthy.

“I don’t feel any pressure at all, but definitely one of my goals is to be on point going in and locking in and doing everything I can to impress the coaches and give them trust for me to be able to play this fall,” Johnson said. “I got the playbook right after my official visit so I’ve just been studying it since December. So I’m learning the plays and learning the scheme and doing as much of that as I can, as well as doing track.”

Johnson finished his high school football career with a bang, rushing for 1,334 yards (6.3 per carry) and 11 touchdowns over 12 games in his first year as the featured back at Bergen Catholic.

Johnson flies under the radar sometimes among NU’s 2019 class, perhaps because he committed nearly a year ago now (May 5) and never wavered since. Not surprisingly, he felt good about that steadfastness after spending another weekend around his new teammates as NU wrapped up spring ball.

“It was nice, I had a great time,” Johnson said. “The atmosphere was very good, and it was pretty cool hanging out with those guys and getting the chance to spend time with them.”

Once he arrives on campus June 4, though, it’ll be off to the races to see if he can’t make an impact early in his Husker career. Held this spring made it clear that anybody can win the starting running back job and anybody can carve out a role for himself.

“May the best man win,” Held said earlier this month. “We start over and I’m going to play the guy and guys that are consistent, know what they’re doing, take care of the football and make plays. That’s what we’ve got to be able to do and it will start right over whenever our first practice is (in August).”

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.


Sports writer

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

Load comments