Miami's Duke Johnson says he is game-ready right now

Miami running back Duke Johnson suffered a broken ankle in November, but he says he is healthy and ready to go for this fall.

Johnson told reporters last week that he is game-ready and that he has gained about 15 pounds of muscle this offseason.

Johnson, who is 5-foot-9, played at 196 pounds last season; the weight gain would put him at 211 pounds. He will need to prove that the extra weight doesn't bog him down. Johnson had been one of the most explosive players in the nation and was able to go the distance on any play; he also has run well between the tackles. With UM's quarterback situation in flux -- projected starter Ryan Williams blew out a knee in spring drills and former BYU and Kansas washout Jake Heaps enrolled at UM last week to vie for the starting job -- it's vital that Johnson put up big numbers this fall to take pressure off a still-questionable Hurricanes defense.

Johnson, a Miami native, will be a junior this fall and thus will be eligible for the 2015 draft; he told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel he hasn't given much thought to the draft yet.

NFL Media draft analyst Bucky Brooks wrote last month that Johnson is "the most talented runner to play at 'The U' since Frank Gore (and) has a game that's already ready-made for the pros."

Johnson also told the Sun-Sentinel he is confident the offensive coaches can adjust to possible life without Williams. "I think coaches do a great job of keeping it simple and not making it too complex to where you have to learn a lot and have to pick up things that you normally wouldn't have to; you have to keep it simple, give your playmakers the ball and play football," he said.

In addition, he told reporters his mom is his football motivation.

"Everything is for her. Every single thing," Johnson said. "If I didn't have the childhood I did (for a while, he was homeless) and it wasn't as tough as it was and my mom (a corrections officer) didn't struggle the way she did and if I didn't want better for her, I wouldn't play football. ... But the reason I play is for her. ... It's solely for her, just to get her in a better situation where she doesn't have to work, where she can do what she wants."

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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