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Rahmir Johnson on Nebraska: ‘It felt like home’
Last Tuesday, Rahmir Johnson dropped a note to Nebraska coach Scott Frost and running backs coach Ryan Held. Keep in mind that 24 hours prior, the 4-star running back dropped a top 4 list of schools, including the Huskers.
What could this mean?
Turns out, it was only good news for Nebraska. Johnson told the coaches he would be committing to Nebraska later that day, after his track meet. But there was a stipulation. The Oradell, N.J., native wanted to keep it quiet until Saturday, when he announced his commitment in front of his former youth football program in New York City, the Harlem Jets.
“[Held] barely had words to say,” Johnson told Land of 10. “That’s how excited he was. Neither did Coach Frost.”
Eventually, Frost found enough of his voice to tell Johnson how he imagined him as part of the Big Red rebuild and that he could not wait to coach him.
Johnson said he saw himself becoming a member of the class as a slow burn — one that began with an offer in December and constant communication since. But one can only lean in one direction so long before falling over. Johnson hit his tipping point, officially, last week.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s good to play for a college team where the coaches care for you and you’re a No. 1 priority,” Johnson said. “That was a big thing when it came to my recruitment and where I’m going to go to school.”
Even when Johnson released his top 4 on Monday, he had a pretty good idea of where he would be headed, but wanted to keep fielding pitches from his three other finalists: Rutgers, Boston College and Ole Miss.
“Nebraska was pretty much the front-runner,” he admitted.
The Huskers assumed that position during Johnson’s junior day visit on March 31, which came right after he checked out Ole Miss.
“It felt like home,” he said.
Johnson’s commitment didn’t make it any easier to tell the other schools he was committing elsewhere.
“The other schools tried the hardest to get me to go to their schools,” Johnson said. “It was pretty tough.”
Nunzio Campanile is Rutgers’ new running backs coach and coached Johnson for three years at Bergen Catholic. His presence with the Scarlet Knights would not have affected his decision either way, Johnson said.
Ultimately, electing Nebraska was a clear call for Johnson. With his recruitment wrapped up now, Johnson feels relieved.
“Now I can just focus on my senior season and the rest of my track season,” he said.
Since his commitment, fans have showed him plenty of love on social media. Johnson wants to make it back to Lincoln this summer. He also will “definitely” use an official visit during the bye week of his senior season for a game at Memorial Stadium.
He’s also effectively shut down his recruitment and doesn’t have any future visits scheduled to other schools.
“I’m just 100 percent to Nebraska,” Johnson said.
Rahmir Johnson excited for fit in Scott Frost’s offense
An important factor in Johnson’s decision was his place in the Huskers offense.
“They want to make me the featured guy,” Johnson said.
As a running back? Of course. There’s more, too. Johnson said he also will slide over and play slot receiver and even on the outside of the formation. On special teams, the plan is to use him as a punt and kick returner.
Basically, any way the coaches can get Johnson the ball, they will.
Frost coached Johnson’s favorite player, De’Anthony Thomas, at Oregon. Johnson is hoping to be used in the all-encompassing way Thomas was.
“I based my playing style a little bit off him,” he said. “He was my favorite player. We share the same birthday as well [January 5].”
Sounds like destiny.
“I was like, ‘Nebraska sounds good.'” Johnson said. “With Coach Frost, the way they play the offense, that’s a place I have to be at. That’s a place I can showcase my skills and beyond.”
Johnson will provide Frost and the rest of the staff with a speedy, 5-foot-10 threat out of the backfield for years to come. The only downside to Johnson’s decision, he said, is that he must wait more than a year before move-in day in Lincoln.
“When it’s my time to get to Nebraska, it’s going to be time to get Nebraska on the map again,” Johnson said.
Missing out on Nebraska recruiting? Check out previous editions of The Harvest here.