Former Miami running back Duke Johnson is among the most talented rushers in a draft class that is deep at the position, and is one of several Hurricanes who should be chosen on either the first or second day of the 2015 NFL Draft, to be held April 30-May 2 in Chicago. Three weeks away from the day he has prepared for, Johnson took time for a Q&A with College Football 24/7:
CFB247: What is the biggest strength you will bring to an NFL team as a rookie, and in what area will you need to improve the most?
Johnson: I think my ability to make people miss in the open field, catch the ball out of the backfield, and do a lot of different things in an offense is my biggest strength. I feel like I'm a complete player who can do whatever is asked. As far something I need to improve, I am working to improve my technique in pass protection. I can pick up the blitz, but I can get better as far as doing it the way coaches want.
You've said before that you see similarities between your game and LeSean McCoy's. In what ways?
I just think the way he can see the hole and make his cuts, and make things happen in the open field, I feel like those are some of the things I bring, too. He can also catch the ball and make plays that way -- he can really do everything.
You grew up in Miami and attended Miami Norland High. What would it mean to you if you were drafted by the Miami Dolphins?
Growing up, I liked all Miami sports. The Marlins, the Heat, the Dolphins, it didn't matter. I've always been a Miami sports fan, so that would be great. I think it's a very slim possibility that the Dolphins will draft me, because they already have Lamar Miller, who is doing a great job there. But to get the chance to play in front of my hometown would be a special thing for me.
Do you have any former Miami teammates in the NFL now who have helped you with advice during your draft preparation?
(Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver) Allen Hurns is a guy I know pretty well who I can talk to. His main advice to me has just been not to worry too much about things like the combine and the pro day, because at the end of the day, we're getting judged mainly on our film. And as long as what you put on film is good, everything else will take care of itself.
If NFL scouts could see only one game film of you, which game would you want it to be?
That's a tough one. I would have to say the Virginia game of my freshman year. I was young, but that was a game where I really got to show everything i can do, from running the ball to catching it out of the backfield, returning kicks, blocking, all of it. I even got to throw a touchdown pass.
(Editor's note: In a 41-40 loss to the Cavaliers, Johnson rushed for 150 yards on only 16 carries, caught one pass, threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Hurns on a halfback option, and returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. His 368 all-purpose yards, which included 214 in returns, set a single-game school record.)
Who is the best linebacker you've ever faced in a game?
Arthur Brown, who played for Kansas State. He was just everywhere. We couldn't get away from him.
What makes Hurricanes linebacker Denzel Perryman a special player?
He can't be blocked. He refuses to stay blocked. Some people say he's small or whatever, but he makes up for it. He is an aggressive, tough, rugged linebacker, and he always knows where the ball is going to be. He is by far (the defense's hardest hitter)."