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The 5-11, 215-pound Johnson, who suffered a crushed neck and larynx during a horrific weightlifting accident in September, made his return to the football field at the Jan. 30 Under Armour Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
The consistent and productive Johnson will be a main contributor in the tailback rotation as a senior in 2009. He has 1,395 career rushing yards (33rd on USC's career list) and 5 career 100-yard games.
Johnson was a key component in USC's primary tailback rotation and also was the team's top punt returner as a junior in 2008. Overall in 2008 while appearing in all 13 games (he started versus Penn State), he rushed for 705 yards (tops on USC) on 138 carries (5.1 avg.) with 9 TDs, plus he has 7 receptions for 48 yards (6.9 avg.) and 33 punt returns for 305 yards (9.2 avg.). He had 29 yards on 9 rushes with a 2-yard TD at Virginia, then added 23 yards on 4 carries versus Ohio State and 48 yards on 7 carries at Oregon State. He had 43 yards on 7 rushes, with an amazing 22-yard zigzagging TD run (he also had 19 yards on 3 punt returns), against Oregon. He then had 17 yards on 9 carries with a TD (along with 7 yards on 2 punt returns) versus Arizona State, followed by 112 yards on 11 rushes at Washington State (he also returned 5 punts for 52 yards). He had 184 all-purpose yards at Arizona (83 on 19 rushes with a TD, 88 on 3 punt returns, including a 54-yarder to set up a field goal, and 13 on 3 receptions) and he also made a key block on a blitzing Wildcat on the Trojans' decisive scoring pass play. He added 113 all-purpose yards (40 on 8 rushes with a 1-yard TD, 21 on 2 receptions and 52 on 4 punt returns) against Washington, then ran for 60 yards on 14 carries and had 4 punt returns for 23 yards against California. He ran for a game-high 115 yards on 14 carries with 2 TDs (7 and 3 yards) at Stanford and had 2 punt returns for 1 yard. He had 26 yards on 5 attempts, caught a 9-yard pass and returned 4 punts for 18 yards against Notre Dame, then added 47 yards on 16 carries (with a 2-yard TD) and returned 5 punts for 43 yards at UCLA. He had a team-best 63 yards on 15 carries versus Penn State, and also had a 5-yard reception and 2-yard punt return.
Johnson showed great promise as an often-used backup tailback as a sophomore in 2007. Overall in 2007 while appearing in 11 games (all but Stanford and Arizona), he ran for 673 yards (second on USC) on 98 carries (6.9 avg.) with 5 touchdowns and caught 4 passes for 15 yards (3.8 avg.). He bruised his left foot against Washington and missed the Stanford and Arizona games. He had surgery on a dislocating left shoulder prior to 2007 spring practice and was sidelined for spring drills. He had 64 yards on 12 carries with a pair of short TD runs and also had a 7-yard catch against Idaho. He ran for a career-best 144 yards on just 11 carries (with a 7-yard TD)--the most rushing yards by a Trojan since Reggie Bush had 260 versus UCLA in 2005--at Nebraska to earn Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week honors. He added 48 yards on 9 carries against Washington State. At Washington, he had a game-high 122 yards on 14 carries with an 8-yard TD and also caught a 5-yard pass. After a 2-game layoff because of injury, he returned for the Notre Dame game and had 47 yards on 8 attempts, then had 9 yards on 3 carries and a 9-yard reception at Oregon. He added 37 yards on 6 carries against Oregon State and 9 yards on 7 carries (including a 3-yard TD run for the game's decisive points) at California. He rushed for 16 yards on 4 carries at Arizona State, then added 73 yards on 15 tries against UCLA. He ran for 104 yards on 9 carries against Illinois.
Was a reserve tailback as a freshman in 2006, his first year at USC. Overall in 2006 while appearing briefly in 3 games (Washington State, Stanford, Oregon), he ran for 17 yards on 3 carries (5.7 avg.), with all the yards coming at Stanford.
Was named a 2005 Parade All-American, Super Prep Elite 50, Prep Star Dream Team, ESPN 150, Super Prep All-American, Prep Star All-American, USA Today All-USA second team, EA Sports All-American second team, U.S. Army All-American Game participant, Super Prep All-Farwest Offensive MVP, Prep Star All-Western, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team, Orange County Register Fab 15 first team, Tacoma News-Tribune Western 100, Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team, All-L.A. City Co-MVP and Los Angeles Times All-Star honoree as a senior running back and defensive back at Dorsey High in Los Angeles (Calif.)...He ran for 2,197 yards on 247 carries (8.9 avg.) with 22 TDs in 2005...As a junior in 2004, he made Cal-Hi Sports All-State third team, Cal-Hi Sports All-State Underclass first team, All-L.A. City MVP, Los Angeles Times All-Star and Los Angeles times All-Central City MVP...He rushed for 1,879 yards (8.6 avg.) with 18 TDs and posted 25 tackles and 3 interceptions in 2004...He was a Cal-Hi Sports All-State Underclass third team, Cal-Hi Sports All-State Sophomore, All-L.A. City and Los Angeles Times All-Central City selection as a sophomore in 2003 when he ran for 1,701 yards and 18 TDs...In his 4-year career, he set the L.A. City rushing record with 5,777 yards and 58 TDs...He also ran track (with a best of 10.7 in the 100 meters) at Dorsey, where his father, Stan Johnson, has been a long-time assistant track coach.
His cousin is current Trojan Travon Patterson.
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