Full name is Westleigh Storm Johnson. The Atlanta-area prep earned all-state honors in 2009 after rushing for 1,937 yards and 31 touchdowns. Originally committed to LSU before signing with Miami. The Hurricanes planned to redshirt him in 2010, but then-coach Randy Shannon wound up using him in 10 games as a true freshman. Rushed nine times for 119 yards (13.2-yard average) and one touchdown with nine kickoff returns for 194 yards (21.6) and zero touchdowns. Had the team's longest run of the year, a 71-yard touchdown scamper against South Florida. Did not play in three games due to coach's decisions. In April '11, he was reportedly one of several Miami players involved in an incident at a UM residential hall that resulted in police being called. He was reportedly going to be suspended by new coach Al Golden for the season opener before electing to transfer to Central Florida. After sitting out the '11 season due to transfer rules, he returned to the field in '12 and carried 113-507-4 (4.5) and caught 10-20-0 (2.0). Appeared in 13 games, starting five of UCF's first six games. Had only 21 carries the rest of the year, missing one game and not touching the ball in two others. Broke out in '13, tallying 213-1,139-14 (5.3) on the ground and 30-260-3 (8.7) receiving in 13 starts. Had five 100-yard games, including a 20-124-3 performance against Baylor in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
Excellent size and strength to run between the tackles. Has quick feet, gets out of the blocks well and shows some giddyup for a bigger back. Nice leg drive and forward lean. Surprisingly slippery. Good open-field ability -- displays nice peripheral vision and elusiveness to run to daylight. Creates after the catch -- can turn a screen or dump-off into a long gain. Scheme-versatile.
Has tight hips and struggles to string moves together. Lacks elite top-end speed -- cannot gain the edge or pull away from the pack. Gears down and chops his steps to cut. Too often tripped up by ankle tackles. Pass protection needs work. Shaky ball security -- eight fumbles in 366 carries 2012-13 (always totes in right hand). Only one year as a feature back.
A Miami transfer, Johnson is a big, nifty-footed runner with enough run strength and burst to be productive in a downhill power scheme or as a one-cut zone runner. However, he will have to take better care of the football and make strides in pass protection to earn carries.