December 7, 2006

Johnson looking to make sudden impact

When Waller, Texas running back Cody Johnson committed to Texas, there was as much talk about moving him to fullback or another position as there was about him possibly being able to help in the running game as a fullback.

Of course, a lot has changed in the nine months since Johnson first gave his verbal pledge to Mack Brown and Co. It wasn't that long ago that the Longhorn running game was the rage of college football, but the departures of playmaking quarterback Vince Young and big-play threat Ramonce Taylor took some of the bite out of UT's ground attack.

In fact, by the end of the 2006 regular season, the Longhorns were struggling to pick up tough yards between the tackles and many are hoping that the 5-10, 230-pound back can be part of the solution to what's currently ailing the UT running game.

"I can see myself coming in and helping out," Johnson said. "To just be able to step out on the field and be a player for Texas is an honor. I'll come in and help out in any way I can."

After rushing for more than 1,700 yards this season for Waller, most think that the hard-running Johnson could get a look next year in short-yardage situations at the very least. One thing that's certain about Johnson is that there's not much East-West running in his style of play. He's going to run downhill and anything that gets in his way is going to take some punishment.

Perhaps the only thing that's harder to do than tackle Johnson is to try and get him to brag about the success he enjoyed as a prep standout.

"I really don't think I was any better this year than I was last year. I don't see it that way," Johnson said. "Our team was better. There are 11 guys on the field and I'm just one of 11 that were responsible for the success. I think I would have been better at 225 pounds. I think I might have lost a step by playing a little heavier."

According to Johnson, the Texas coaches haven't discussed where they would like his ideal playing weight to be, but when he takes his official visit to Austin this weekend, he'll have a chance to sit down and talk about those issues with the coaching staff.

"The coaches are going to call me on Thursday and give me all of the details," Johnson said. "I'm committed and I'm not going to change my mind. I hope this weekend goes well, but even if it doesn't, I've made my decision. I'm just looking forward to getting to know some of the players and recruits, and seeing the campus."

Regardless of whether he's on the field next year as a true freshman or not, Johnson is just thankful for the opportunities in front of him.

"I'm very lucky," Johnson said. "I just want to come in and help out in any way and become a consistent player for Texas."

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