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Arkansas Razorbacks NFL Draft Profile: Dennis Johnson

Running Back/ Kick Returner
213 lb
Texarkana, Arkansas

Wesley Hitt


For five years, Johnson has been a household name amongst Razorback fans. Since breaking the school record for kick return yards in a season and earning a spot on the SEC All-Freshman team, Johnson's motor hasn't stopped running. At 5'9" and 213 lb, Johnson is quite a load to bring down. Just ask SEC defenses, who often needed a group effort to wrangle the bullish running back several yards after initial contact (he averaged 5.9 yards/carry for his career). He ran an official 4.47 40 at his pro day and is very explosive within the first 10 yards. Johnson has also shown resiliency over his collegiate career, after making a full recovery from a lacerated spleen that he suffered just two games into his junior season. Often made his own holes behind a less than stellar O-line. Johnson finished his career as the SEC's active leader in All-Purpose yards with over 4,000 kick return yards. He's also not afraid to block.

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He's stayed fairly healthy throughout his career, other than a fluke bowel injury he suffered in 2010 after falling on a ball awkwardly. He missed most of the 2010 season.

Johnson also became an elite kickoff return specialist, holding the SEC career record for return yardage, including three return touchdowns.

[Ed. note: After an awesome game against #1 Florida in 2009, Spencer Hall wrote that Johnson "ran like a mad bastard." I've never forgotten.]


Much like fellow Hog 'back Knile Davis, Johnson is privy to fumbles. With 14 career fumbles, ball security will need to be emphasized in his pro development. He doesn't possess top end speed, and his unwillingness to go down or out of bounds can bite him. Johnson also spent some time in Bobby Petrino's dog house during his junior year. I don't believe there are character concerns with Johnson as he seemed to mature throughout his career, and was a team leader during the awful 2012 season. He doesn't possess elite size, but that didn't stop Ray Rice or Maurice Jones-Drew from excelling in the league.


Dennis Johnson has complimented a couple of 1,000 yards rushers in Michael Smith and Knile Davis. Ball security can be coached, and Johnson can join a good stable of running backs and thrive in the NFL. With his success in the return game, he can be primarily used as a team's return man. Johnson was snubbed from the Combine, but shouldn't have a problem developing into a more then capable change of pace 'back. Similar running back to Michael Turner, Ray Rice, and Maurice Jones-Drew