CARRYING THE LOAD: Entering his senior season at USC, Stafon Johnson will not just bear the task of sharing carries in a crowded backfield but hoping to impress NFL scouts to hear his named called in next year’s draft.
Photo Credit: Jason Lewis for Sentinel
Stafon Johnson keeps USC backfield in motion
Former Dorsey star part of three headed monsterÂ
By Kenneth Miller
Sentinel Managing Editor
Former Dorsey star running back Stafon Johnson ranks 33rd on the USC rushing charts with 1,395 yards during his three seasons as a man of Troy.
While that may seem impressive to some people, Johnson would normally secure those numbers after half a season in high school.
During his four-year career at Dorsey he racked up 5,777 yards and 58 touchdowns in his illustrious prep campaign.
Johnson signed to come to USC to follow in the footsteps of great tailbacks such as Marcus Allen, OJ Simpson, Charles White, Anthony DavisÂ Â Â Â , Mike Garrett to name just a few.
However, he was never quite afforded the opportunity by head coach Pete Carroll. As a freshman he only carried the ball 3 times for a total of 17 yards.
His sophomore year he got 98 carries and rushed for 673 yards and scored 9 touchdowns, averaging 6.9 yards per carry.
Then in 2008 as a junior he had 705 yards and scored 12 touchdowns, averaging 5.1 yards per carry.
There were rumors that he would transfer after his freshman year, but he stuck it out. Last year his father put out fliers to the NFL, but got very few bites and decided to finish where he started.
Johnson finds himself in pretty much the same boat as he did when he arrived, a crowded Trojans backfield with juniors Joe McKnight and C.J. Gable expected to share time with him in the crowded backfield.
â€œHaving so many people just as good as you makes the competition be at a high level and helps you work hard every day,â€ said Johnson.
â€œWhen you donâ€™t have that you have a tendency to lay back because you know you have the position. Here during the time you slack off another guy can step in. You always have that in the back of your mind and it helps you as a player.â€
For Johnson, his practices at USC have been tougher than any of his games in high school and the ultimate goal of playing in the NFL is still within reach, but he realizes that he needs some signature moments.
No one is paying attention when you are rushing for ore than 100 yards against Washington State or Stanford, but you do that against Ohio State or Notre Dame or even UCLA and youâ€™re on to something.
He is a power packed runner who at 5â€™11, 210 may not blow you away with his speed, but has the ability to run over people and is quite durable.
To build his resume for the NFL he will certainly need to be more productive on kickoff returns and every time he touches the football make a difference for his football team.
â€œHeâ€™s a very good all around football player. Heâ€™s got a lot of natural instincts to him. He can do a lot of stuff. And heâ€™s way more confident now and is really working more consistently,â€ commented coach Pete Carroll.