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2016 NFL DRAFT
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Chris Johnson

Height: 5-11 | Weight: 197 | College: East Carolina
 
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Overview

Few teams in the collegiate or professional ranks have such an explosive and versatile weapon as the Pirates boast with Chris Johnson. Fully recovered from turf toe that hampered him in 2006 and neck surgery during the 2007 off-season, Johnson established himself as the premier all-purpose back in the NCAA Division 1-A ranks during his final campaign.

At Olympia High School, Johnson earned All-Orange County honors as a senior and was selected the Most Valuable Player for his performance in the Orange County All-Star Game. He was rated among the top 100 players in state of Florida by Super Prep, as he scored eight touchdowns during his final campaign, despite missing four contests with an injury.

As a junior, he rushed for more than 1,000 yards. A standout weight lifter, he boasted the top power numbers among the team's skill position players with a 265-pound power clean-lift and a 315-pound bench-press. Johnson also competed in track. He was timed at 10.38 seconds in the 100-meter sprint and ran the anchor leg on the fastest 4x100 relay team in the nation that won Golden South and Golden West national titles.

Johnson proved to be a dangerous kickoff returner as a true freshman in 2004 at East Carolina, where he was originally signed as a wide receiver. He gained 765 yards on 37 attempts (20.7 avg) and made a solo tackle on special teams. He started seven of 11 games at tailback, leading the team with 561 yards and five touchdowns on 134 carries (4.2 avg). He caught 32 passes, second-best on the team, for 236 yards (7.4 avg) and two scores, totaling 42 points for the year.

Johnson ranked fourth in Conference USA and 24th nationally with 1,562 all-purpose yards, an average of 142.0 yards per game. For those efforts, he was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman squad as a running back and kickoff return specialist. He was also named the team's Outstanding Newcomer-of-the-Year.

During his sophomore campaign, Johnson started all 11 games, leading the team with 176 rushes for 684 yards (3.9 avg) and six touchdowns. He grabbed 35 passes for 356 yards (10.2 avg) and two scores. His 67 receptions during his first two seasons set the school career-record for running backs. He returned 21 kickoffs for 459 yards (21.9 avg), scored 48 points and ranked second in the Conference USA ranks with an average of 136.27 all-purpose yards per game in 2005.

Listed on numerous preseason All-Conference USA first-team squads, Johnson was limited to five starting assignments, seeing limited action in seven other games during the 2006 season due to turf toe and also had neck surgery in the off-season that kept him out of spring drills. He still finished second on the team with 314 yards and four touchdowns on 78 carries (4.0 avg) while starting four times at tailback. He started the season finale at flanker, coming up with 21 catches for 176 yards (8.4 avg). He ranked third in the conference with a 22.95-yard average on 21 kickoff returns for 482 yards and a touchdown. He scored 30 points, made one solo tackle and averaged 81.0 all-purpose yards per game.

In 2007, Johnson established a new Conference USA record with an average of 227.69 all-purpose yards per game. That figure led the nation, and he was 24th with 109.5 rushing yards per game. He became the 24th player in Division 1-A history to amass more than 6,000 all-purpose yards in a career.

In 47 games at East Carolina, Johnson started 34 times at tailback and twice at receiver (vs. Wake Forest in 2004 and South Florida in 2006). He became the 11th player in school annals to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a career, amassing 2,982 yards with 32 touchdowns on 624 attempts (4.8 avg). He holds the school career record for running backs with 125 receptions for 1,296 yards (10.4 avg) and 10 scores.

Johnson holds the school career record with 2,715 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 115 kickoff returns (23.6 avg). He completed two pass attempts for no gain and recorded two solo tackles. His 264 points scored ranks second on ECU's all-time record list. He touched the ball 864 times, becoming the first player in school annals to amass more than 5,000 all-purpose yards in a career, totaling 6,993 yards.

Analysis

Positives: Has a compact frame with good overall muscle tone, thick chest, broad shoulders, tapered thighs and legs and room on his frame to carry at least another 10 pounds of bulk without having it affect his explosive quickness … Efficient route runner whose speed makes him a valid deep threat when lining up wide … Shows good athletic agility and vision, doing a nice job of planting and driving to reach the cutback lanes, showing excellent lateral movement and explosion … Has a superb vertical burst, staying low in his pads while showing crisp hip snap with his lateral change of direction … Patient enough to allow blocks to setup, whether carrying or returning the ball … Smart football player with good football intelligence and is effective at picking up the blitz and stunt … Shows good peripheral vision to locate even the smallest of creases and is sudden running through the holes … Knows the offense well and is capable of playing either as a receiver or halfback … Has excellent work habits and is the type that approaches practices much like a game (all business on the field) … Is more of a leader by example type than a rah-rah one, but he is good at mentoring the younger players … Tough inside runner with the leg drive and power to get physical with defenders in attempts to break tackles, despite a lack of ideal size … Takes well to hard coaching … Very decisive in his moves and has a very good feel for the cutback lanes … Has that second gear and explosion needed to accelerate vertically off cuts … Runs behind his pads with good instincts, doing a nice job of driving and spinning to get extra yards after initial contact … Runs behind pads well and has more than enough speed and quickness to reach the corner … Has good vision with quick plant and drive agility when redirecting and sets up the defender well with his stop-and-go action … The thing you notice on film is his impressive athleticism and courage, as he will not hesitate to leap over the tackler, keeping his balance while moving forward, thanks to good body lean … Does a good job of securing the ball before heading upfield … Has natural hands and good extension to catch the ball outside his framework … Used mostly on shallow crossing routes, sideline take-offs and out routes, but could possibly shift to receiver at the next level due to his explosive acceleration and ability to separate after the catch … Demonstrates good running ability on kickoff returns, as he will follow his blocks well … Has the quickness and burst in and out of his cuts to take the ball long distances, whether running, returning or catching the ball … Prior to his senior year, Johnson was considered a marginal space blocker, as he sometimes over-extended or lunged at the defender with his head down, resulting in missed blocks. But as a senior, he showed much better hand placement and punch, doing a nice job of locating the blitz and using his hands to lock on and sustain … Has also become a proficient cut blocker, taking good angles to locate and neutralize second level defenders.

Negatives: Durability might be a concern with his lack of ideal size, but he shows good power and leg drive to break tackles and is not a liability taking the ball up the middle … Showed inconsistent leg churn as a runner in 2006, but it was likely due to his turf toe injury, as he ran at a lower pad level and with crisper cuts during his senior year … Needs to work on his blocking technique, as he lacks good hand placement to lock on and sustain … Shows the ability to take the plays from the chalkboard to the playing field, but had some academic struggles … When he keeps his pad level down running with the ball, he can break tackles, but when he gets too tall in his pads, he loses some of his leg drive and can be contained running between the tackles … Has shown good ball security, but has smaller-than-ideal hands (7 1/4-inches).

Compares To: DAVE MEGGETT-ex-New York Giants/New England … Some compare him to Philadelphia's Brian Westbrook, but even though the Eagles runner has fine speed, he lacks that explosive second gear Johnson possesses. With his injury woes behind them, Johnson finally came into his own as a senior, as he learned to vary his speed and showed much better patience waiting for blocks to develop. He is much stronger than his size indicates, but with his outstanding timed speed he is a versatile threat who is more than capable of handling kickoff duties. With his suddenness off the line of scrimmage and hand extension ability, he also can line wide in passing situations.

Career Notes

Gained 6,993 all-purpose yards, becoming the 24th player in NCAA Division 1-A history to gain 6,000 all-purpose yards in a career … His 6,993 yards are a school career record and rank second in Conference USA annals behind DeAngelo Williams of Memphis (7,573 yards, 2002-05) … His 2,715 yards on kickoff returns shattered the old school career record of 1,939 yards by Anthony Collins (1977-80) and topped the old league record held by Zek Parker of Louisville (2,558 yards, 1998-2001) … His 115 kickoff returns set school and league all-time records, topping the Conference USA mark of 103 by Parker … His kickoff return average of 23.61 yards rank fifth in Conference USA history (minimum of 30 returns) behind John Eubanks of Southern Mississippi (2002-05, 27.38 avg, 60 for 1,643 yards), Ketric Sanford of Houston (1996-99, 25.07 avg, 68 for 1,705), Parker (1998-01, 24.83 avg, 103 for 2,558) and Ricky Wilson of Houston (2003-05, 24.15 avg, 41 for 990) … Returned two kickoffs for touchdowns during his career, one short of the Conference USA career record of three by Parker … Johnson's 2,982 yards rushing rank third on the school's career record list behind Junior Smith (3,745 yards, 1991-94) and Leonard Henry (3,089, 1998-01) … His 264 points rank second overall in school annals behind Kevin Miller (287 points, 1999-2002), and is the most ever by an ECU non-kicker, surpassing the old mark of 222 points by Carlester Crumpler Sr. (1971-73) … Holds the school career records for running backs with 125 catches and 10 touchdown receptions … His 125 receptions rank sixth overall in school annals, surpassed by Jason Nichols (152 catches, 1994-97), Aundrae Allison (145, 2005-06), Terrance Copper (139, 2000-03), Mitchell Galloway (131, 1993-96) and Troy Smith (129, 1995-98) … Johnson's 44 total touchdowns broke the old school career record of 37 by Crumpler (1971-73) … His 37 kickoff returns in 2004 rank fourth on the Conference USA single-season record list behind William White of Army (55 in 2002), Scott Wesley of Army (54 in 2004) and Fred Smith of Tulane (38 in 2003) … His 2007 average of 227.69 all-purpose yards per game established a new Conference USA single-season record, breaking the old mark is 205.36 yards per game held by Mewelde Moore of Tulane in 2001 … His average of 58.0 yards on kickoff returns vs. Southern Mississippi in 2006 was the second-best game average by a kickoff returner in Conference USA history, topped only by Michael Grandberry of Memphis (59.0 average vs. Texas-El Paso on 11-25-06) (2 for 118) … His 372 all-purpose yards gained vs. Central Florida in 2007 set school and conference single-game records, surpassing the Conference USA mark of 347 yards by Cory Rodgers of Texas Christian vs. Louisville in 2004 (191 KR, 38 PR, 4 rush, 114 rec.) and the previous ECU record of 356 yards by Scott Harley vs. North Carolina State in 1996 … Johnson later broke that record by gaining 408 all-purpose yards vs. Memphis in 2007 … His 301 yards rushing vs. Memphis in 2007 ranks second on the school's single-game record list behind Scott Harley's 351 vs. North Carolina State in 1996 … He also became just the third player in Conference USA history to run for 300 yards in a game, joining Joffrey Reynolds of Houston (300 vs. East Carolina in 2002) and Matthew Forte' of Tulane (303 vs. South-eastern Louisiana and 342 vs. Southern Methodist in 2007) … His 86-yard gain on a rushing attempt vs. Wake Forest in 2004 is the seventh-longest run from scrimmage in school history, topped only by Eddie Hicks (95 yards vs. William & Mary, 1977), Dave Alexander (93 vs. Howard, 1964), Leonard Henry (93 vs. Tulane, 2001), Ken Strayhorn (88 vs. Davidson, 1973), Leander Green (87 vs. Richmond, 1979) and Eddie Hicks (87 vs. Virginia, 1975) … Johnson's 81-yard touchdown reception vs. Rice in 2005 was the sixth-longest catch in school history and the longest since Marcus Crandell threw an 85-yarder to Mitchell Galloway vs. Tulsa in 1995.

2007 Season

All-American and All-Conference USA first-team selection as an all-purpose back and Super Sleeper Team choice by The NFL Draft Report … Johnson overcame injury problems in 2006 to establish himself as one of the premier big play artists in the NCAA Division 1-A ranks, leading the nation with an average of 227.69 all-purpose yards per game … Ranked fourth nationally in scoring (11.08 ppg) and 18th in kickoff return average (28.03 avg) … Also ranks fifth in the conference with an average of 97.3 yards rushing per game … Three times broke the league and school game-records, with 372 all-purpose yards vs. Central Florida, then amassed 408 all-purpose yards in the Memphis clash and 404 yards vs. Boise State in the Hawaii Bowl … Started all thirteen games at tailback, leading the squad with 236 carries for 1,423 yards (6.0 avg) and 17 touchdowns … Turned 76 of those carries into first downs, as he converted 14-of-19 third-down plays and one more on fourth-down action … Ran for over 10 yards on 40 attempts, including 15 for 20 yards or longer … Showed his power running skills, as the opposition needed multiple tacklers to stop him on 77 of his 219 non-touchdown runs … Had key rushing attempts that set up 28 touchdown drives and nine more that resulted in ECU field goals … Was tackled for a loss 19 times and stopped for no gain on 13 other carries, but had 17 carries for positive yardage on goal-line plays (also had 32 positive runs inside the red zone) … Second on the team with 37 receptions for 528 yards (14.3 avg) and six scores … 19 of those catches resulted in first downs, as he converted 9-of-17 third-down plays … Had eight receptions for 20 yards or longer and came up with key grabs that set up eight touchdown drives and two more that ended with a field goal … Returned 36 kickoffs for 1,009 yards (28.03 avg) and one touchdown … Scored 144 points … Touched the ball 309 times for 2,960 all-purpose yards.

2007 Game Analysis

Virginia Tech … Johnson opened the season with 29 yards and a touchdown on ten carries, running for three first downs, including two on third-down plays, as the defense needed more than one tackler to take him down on five of his runs. He also had a 24-yard kickoff return … The tailback scored his 21st career touchdown on a two-yard rush up the middle in the second quarter … He kept a late first quarter drive alive with a 12-yard gain on a third-&-4 run and converted a third-&-3 carry into a 3-yard gain at the start of the second quarter … That 3-yard run got the ball to the Tech 4 and two plays later, he powered his way around left tackle for a 2-yard touchdown run that ended a 9-play, 52-yard series … Record Watch-Johnson's 53 total yards gave him 4,086 all-purpose yards for his career, good for second on the school's all-time record list behind Anthony Collins (4,463 yards, 1977-80) …

With Johnson's two-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, the Pirates extended their streak without being shutout to 114 games. The last time ECU was blanked was on Oct. 4, 1997 against Syracuse (56-0) … Head to Head Competition-MLB#9-Vince Hall (6:00-238)-Thirteen tackles (3 solos), one pressure.

North Carolina … Johnson was held to 18 yards and a score on eight carries, but totaled 258 all-purpose yards, as he snared five passes for 136 yards with a pair of touchdowns and returned four kickoffs for 104 yards. Four of his grabs produced first downs, as he converted two third-down catches and had three receptions for 20 yards or longer, leading the team to a 34-31 decision, as the Pirates beat UNC for the first time in 32 years … QB

Patrick Pinkney's mobility allowed him to find time against oncoming rushers, and he got some early confidence with a 78-yard screen pass to Johnson for a score on the Pirates' first possession. Then, after finding Davon Drew for a 15-yard touchdown late in the first half, he connected with Johnson for a 24-yard score in the third quarter … The tailback added a 4-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter that he set up with his 44-yard kickoff return … Record Watch-Johnson's 78-yard catch was the second-longest reception of his career (81 yards vs. Rice, Oct. 8 2005) … Also tied a school record with six receiving touchdowns in a career by a running back (Tom Grant-1965-67; Art Brown (2000-04) … Head to Head Competition-MLB#51-Wesley Flagg (6:00-240)-Seven tackles (3 solos).

Southern Mississippi … Johnson collected 133 all-purpose yards on two kickoff returns for 59 yards, thirteen runs for 45 yards and three catches for 29 yards, including a score. He also recorded a solo tackle. Seven of his carries produced first downs and the defense needed multiple tacklers to take him down on five runs, including two that converted third-down plays. All three of his catches were good for first downs, as two came on third-down plays … Johnson, who became the school's all-time all-purpose back during the game, reeled off a 20-yard run on his first carry late in the first quarter … His 15-yard catch at the start of the second half set up Patrick Pinkney's 20-yard scoring toss to Dwayne Harris …

Pinkney was intercepted by Quentin Cotton at the USM 17 midway through the third quarter, but Johnson chased the defender down, tackling the opponent after a 16-yard return … Pinkney rewarded his tailback for the tackle by finding him with a 6-yard touch-down pass on the next series … Record Watch-Johnson set two school records on the night in all-purpose yards (4,464) and receiving touchdowns by a running back (seven). He passed Tony Collins (1977-80) mark of 4,463 for all-purpose yards and finished the game with 120 all-purpose yards (45-rushing, 29-receiving and 46-kick return) … Johnson moved into the school's top-10 for receptions with his three catches on the night and now has 96 for his career … Head to Head Competition-MLB#24-Gerald McRath (6:03-220)-Thirteen tackles (10 solos), 0.5 sack for minus 2 yards.

West Virginia … The multi-talented athlete piled up 191 all-purpose yards, running fourteen times for 76 yards and a touchdown while returning four kickoffs for 102 yards and catching three passes for 13 yards. He had seven first-down carries and three runs for over 10 yards … Johnson was tackled for a 4-yard loss on ECU's first play from scrimmage and killed a fourth quarter series when he was stopped for no gain on a fourth-&-1 rushing attempt … He got untracked late in the game with runs of 5, 11 & 8 yards that set up his 3-yard scoring burst that capped a 10-play, 67-yard drive with 0:59 left in the game … Record Watch-Johnson's 31-yard kick return in the first quarter moved him into first place on the schools all-time KOR list (1,995) passing Tony Collins (1,939/ 1977-80) … Head to Head Competition-MLB#47-Reed Williams (6:02-227)-Three tackles (one solo).

Houston … For the second time in 2007, Johnson amassed over 200 all-purpose yards in a game, gaining 221 yards on 24 carries for 147 yards and two scores, two kickoff returns for 50 yards and four catches for 24 yards. He put on quite a power display, as the defense needed more than one tackler to bring him down on 16 of his rushing attempts, as six of those runs produced first downs and five of those carries were for 10 yards or longer, including two 20+ yard runs. In addition to his two touchdown runs, he had carries that set up two other TD drives and receptions that set up another touchdown series and one that ended with a field goal … The first time he carried the ball vs. the Cougars, he reeled off a 12-yard gain around left tackle, followed by a 14-yard scoring burst up the middle of the field at the start of the second quarter … His 5-yard catch on the team's next series set up QB Patrick Pinkney's 20-yard touchdown toss to Dwayne Harris … Johnson's 10-yard run set up a 1-yard scoring plunge by Brandon Simmons late in the first half … The tailback's 26-yard scamper over right guard set up QB Robert Kass' 34-yard scoring strike to T.J. Lee at the start of the third quarter … After helping his teammates score, he decided to score himself, breaking away from four defenders en route to a 43-yard touchdown run over right tackle midway through the third quarter … Johnson's third-down catch for 3 yards helped set up ECU's late third quarter 33-yard field goal … Record Watch-His 43-yard scamper was his longest run of the season and longest since Nov.18, 2006 (at Rice) … His 221 all-purpose yards gives him 4,889 for his career and he added to his school all-time record of 2,216 kickoff return yards … His 147 rushing yards marks the fifth 100-yard game of his career and the first since Memphis (2006) … Johnson's first reception of the game in the first quarter put him over the 100 career reception mark. He is one of nine of Pirates to have 100-plus career receptions and has 103 for his career … Head to Head Competition-MLB#34-Cody Lubojasky (6:03-233)-Two assisted tackles.

Central Florida … Johnson continued his torrid pace, earning National and Conference USA Player of the Week honors, as he set school and league game records with 372 all-purpose yards. He rushed 23 times for 89 yards and two touchdowns, made five catches for 89 yards and a score and had four kickoff returns for 194 yards, including a 96-yard touch-down. In addition to his four touch-downs, he set up three other touchdown drives and one other series that ended in a field goal. He converted two third-down catches and the defense needed more than one tackler to stop him on seven of his runs, leading the team to a thrilling 52-38 victory … Johnson started the game off with an opening 47-yard kickoff return and capped the team's first series with an 8-yard touchdown run … In the second quarter, QB Robert Kass found Johnson with a third-&-5 pass that Johnson then took 72 yards to the house for an electrifying touchdown catch-&-run … He then opened the second half by returning that kickoff 96 yards for a score … Two goal-line runs set up Kass' 6-yard scoring lob to Jamar Bryant later in that quarter … Johnson then romped 18 yards with a handoff for a touchdown and then reeled off 8, 4 & 1-yard rushing attempts to set up Kass' 6-yard scoring burst at the start of the fourth quarter … Record Watch-The 52 points points scored are the most for East Carolina since the Pirates beat Houston in three overtimes, 54-48, on Nov. 9, 2002. They are the most in regulation since a 59-24 victory over Army on Oct. 5, 2002 … Johnson set a single-game school record for all-purpose yards. His 372 yards on kickoffs, rushing and receiving broke the mark of 356 set by Scott Harley against North Carolina State on Nov. 30, 1996 … His 372 yards also broke the Conference USA game-record of mark of 347 yards by Cory Rodgers of Texas Christian vs. Louisville in 2004 … Head to Head Competition-MLB#54-Chance Henderson (6:01-240)-Ten tackles (4 solos), 1.5 stops for minus 4 yards, one pass deflection.

Texas-El Paso … For the fourth time in 2007, Johnson registered more than 200 all-purpose yards in a game, as he gained 243 yards on 23 carries for 126 yards and four kickoff returns for 117 yards. Eight of his runs produced first downs, as he converted two third-down plays and had five rushes for 10 yards or longer. He had key carries that set up one touchdown drive and three other series that ended with field goals … Johnson's game-opening 17-yard run was followed by a 6-yarder that set up an ECU 52-yard field goal … He converted a third-&-2 play into a 4-yard gain, followed by another 4-yard run to set up a 28-yard second quarter field goal … 12 & 11-yard rushing attempts over the left side set up a 24-yard field goal with 3:02 left in the first half … Johnson added an 8-yard run over left guard to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by QB Robert Kass that gave ECU a 45-42 overtime victory … Record Watch-With his 36-yard kickoff return in the second quarter, Johnson moved into second place on C-USA's all-time KOR charts (2,356), topped only by Zek Parker of Louisville (2,558 yards, 1998-2001) … Johnson finished the night with 243 all-purpose yards and now has 5,504 for his career, adding to his school record … He picked up his second 100-yard rush performance of the season and sixth for his career … Head to Head Competition-MLB#6-Jeremy Jones (6:01-240)-Six tackles (3 solos), one stop for a 3-yard loss.

North Carolina State … Johnson amassed 146 all-purpose yards, as he ran nineteen times for 63 yards and a touchdown, adding 22 yards on four catches and 61 yards on two kickoff returns, but lost the ball on a fumble. In addition to his touch-down run, he had key rushing attempts that set up two ECU field goals … Late in the first quarter, he fumbled the ball at the ECU 19 on a rushing attempt and Memphis defensive end Martel Brown recovered it, setting up the Tigers' 21-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Evans to John Dunlap … He made up for that miscue with a 19-yard scamper that was followed by a fourth-&-goal 1-yard scoring plunge that gave the Pirates their first points for the day in a 34-20 loss … Johnson's 11-yard burst up the middle set up Ben Hartman's 47-yard field goal as time expired in the first half … He set up another ECU 29-yard field goal in the third quarter with a third-down catch for a 1-yard gain and runs of 1 & 6 yards … Head to Head Competition-MLB#95-James Martin II (6:01-233)-Eight tackles (5 solos), one stop for a 1-yard loss, a pass deflection, one forced fumble.

Alabama-Birmingham … Johnson produced his eighth consecutive game with at least 100 all-purpose yards, totaling 154 on fifteen carries for 79 yards and a score, 41 yards on two receptions and 24 yards on a kickoff return. He had key runs to set up two drives that ended with field goals and set up a touchdown drive with a 33-yard catch in a 41-6 win …

ECU rolled up 194 rushing yards through three quarters (216 overall) as it led 20-6 at the half and 41-6 after three quarters … He reeled off carries of 8 yards and then went for 3 yards around left end on a third-&-2 play, setting up an ECU 36-yard field goal in the first quarter … His 8 & 6-yard runs up the middle sandwiched a 9-yard carry over left end to set up a second quarter 27-yard field goal … In the third quarter, Johnson took off around left end for a 20-yard gain and then raced 20 yards around right end for a touchdown … On the team's next series, he gained 5 yards over right end, another yard to the left side and caught a 33-yard pass from Pat Pinkney to set up the QB's 7-yard scoring strike to Steven Rogers that ended a 70-yard, 8-play drive … Record Watch-Johnson's 24-yard kickoff return in the second quarter was his 103rd for his career, tying Zek Parker of Louisville (1998-2001) for the Conference USA all-time record … His 20-yard scoring run in the third quarter was the ninth rushing touchdown of the season, 24th career rushing score and 34th of his career, as he moved into a tie for fifth place on the school's career scoring charts (204 points tied with Dave Alexander, 1963-65) … Head to Head Competition-MLB#33-Mike Tash-man (6:00-211)-Six tackles (3 solos), two QB pressures.

Memphis … Johnson put on a tremendous show, as he set school and conference game-records with 408 all-purpose yards, producing the second-best rushing performance in school history, as he became the third player in league annals to rush for over 300 yards in a game, tallying 301 yards with a career-high four touchdowns on just 20 carries. He added 12 yards on two catches and 95 yards on four kickoff returns. He amassed ten first-down runs, including two on third-down plays, had eight carries for at least 10 yards each, including five runs for more than 20 yards and set up two other touchdown drives with key carries … Johnson began the day by breaking three tackles en route to a 16-yard scoring burst that ended a 5-play, 60-yard early first quarter series … Early in the second quarter, he caught a 4-yard swing pass and on the next play, he exploded for a 44-yard touchdown run … On his first rushing attempt of the second half, he left the Tigers defense grasping for air on his electrifying 70-yard touchdown jaunt … He then converted a third-&-2 attempt into a 19-yard gain, followed by a pair of 6-yard runs to set up QB Pat Pinkney's 6-yard scoring lob to Jamar Bryant that ended a 59-yard, 8-play series … Johnson broke free for a 28-yard scamper to the Memphis 20 and two plays later, Pinkney found Steven Rogers with a 25-yard scoring pass … He finished his scoring by eluding a trio of secondary defenders on a 50-yard touchdown burst with 5:22 left to play, giving the Pirates a 56-32 lead … Record Watch-Johnson's 408 all-purpose yards shattered his old Conference USA game-record of 272 yards that he set earlier in the 2007 season vs. Central Florida. Prior to 2007, the 347 yards by Cory Rodgers of Texas Christian vs. Louisville in 2004 was the league game-record … He gained 301 yards rushing, joining Joffrey Reynolds of Houston (300 vs. East Carolina in 2002) and Matthew Forte' of Tulane (303 vs. Southeastern Louisiana and 342 vs. Southern Methodist in 2007) as the only Conference USA players to run for 300 yards in a game … His 301 yards on the ground rank second on the school's game-record list, topped only by Scott Harley's 351 vs. North Carolina State in 1996 … His 408 all-purpose yards broke his own previous school game-record of 372 yards that he set earlier in the season vs. Central Florida … Johnson's 38 total touchdowns to date broke the old school career-record of 37 by Carlester Crumpler, Sr. (1971-73) … He finished the day with 228 points scored for his career, ranking third all-time in school annals behind Kevin Miller (287, 1999-2002) and Jeff Heath (251, 1982-85)) … He also set a school record for most points for a non-kicker passing Carlester Crumpler (222) … Johnson's 70-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was the second-longest scoring carry of his career and second-longest rush of his career (86 vs. Wake Forest '04) … With his lone kickoff return in the first half, Johnson became Conference USA's all-time kickoff return leader, passing Zek Parker of Louisville (103, 1998-2001) and now has 107 for his career … His 95 kickoff return yards gave him 2,536 for his career, needing 14 KOR yards to set the league all-time record that Parker holds (2,558 yards, 1998-2001) … His 408 all-purpose yards gave him 6,202 yards for his career, ranking third in Conference USA history behind DeAngelo Williams of Memphis (7,573 yards, 2002-05) and Mewelde Moore of Tulane (6,505 yards, 2000-03) … He also became the 24th player in NCAA Division 1-A history to gain over 6,000 all-purpose yards in a career … Head To Head Competition-MLB#37-Heath Grant (6:01-233)-Twelve tackles (6 solos), 0.5 stops for minus one yard.

Marshall … Johnson collected 72 yards with a touchdown on twelve rushes … He hauled in two passes for 45 yards and gained 26 yards on two kickoff returns … A run off right tackle for 22 yards was followed by a fourth-&-1 burst over right end for a 4-yard score that ended an 8-play, 74-yard first quarter series.

Tulane … The Pirates tailback amassed 155 yards on 27 tries with a pair of touchdowns, as he also caught four passes for 85 yards and a score, ending the day with 240 all-purpose yards … After being tackled for a 3-yard loss on first-&-goal, Johnson took the next handoff and powered into the end zone on a 5-yard run off left end at the start of the second quarter … In the fourth quarter, he converted a third-&-4 run into a 7-yard score over right guard, concluding a 56-yard, 10-play series.

Boise State (Hawaii Bowl) … Johnson closed out his career in explosive fashion, earning Game MVP honors as he set a bowl record with 404 all-purpose yards … The tailback piled up 223 yards on 28 carries, including a touchdown, caught three passes for 32 yards and a score and had six kickoff returns for 153 yards … His third-&-2 run for 5 yards set up Dominique Lindsay's 3-yard touchdown burst on the next play at the start of the second quarter … On the next series, QB Pat Pinkney hit Johnson with an 18-yard scoring strike …

He ended the first half with 10, 4 and 5-yard runs to set up Lindsay's 3-yard touchdown …

With 1:45 left in the game, Johnson fumbled the ball and BSU's Marty Tadman recovered it, returning the ball 47 yards for a touchdown that tied the score at 38-38. Johnson made up for that miscue by taking the ensuing kickoff 30 yards to set up ECU's game-winning 34-yard field goal as time expired in a 41-38 decision.

2006 Season

All-Conference USA first-team selection as a return specialist … Sat out spring drills while recovering from neck surgery … Started the team's first four games at tailback and the season finale (PapaJohns.com Bowl) vs. South Florida at flanker, having an 18-game starting string snapped vs. Virginia after suffering turf toe (left big toe) vs. Memphis … Led the team with 972 all-purpose yards (81.0 ypg) and ranked second in rushing with 78 attempts for 314 yards (4.0 avg) and four scores … Sixth on the squad with 21 catches for 176 yards (8.4 avg) … Returned 21 kickoffs for 482 yards (23.0 avg) and a touchdown … Had one solo tackle and scored 30 points … Ran for fifteen first downs and converted 4-of-6 third-down plays, as he had eight runs for longer than 10 yards, including a pair of 20+ yard carries … Turned the ball over once on two fumbles … Had big runs that set up five touchdown drives and two more that resulted in field goals … Was tackled behind the line of scrimmage on fourteen rushing attempts, but gained yardage on eleven goal-line runs … Eight of his 21 catches produced first downs, converting 3-of-8 third-down pass plays.

2006 Game Analysis

Navy … Johnson opened the season with eleven runs for 28 yards and a touchdown. He also caught three passes for 10 yards and had a 16-yard kickoff return … He kept the team's game-opening drive alive by converting a third-down pass into an 8-yard first down and a third-down run into a 2-yard first down … On second-and-goal, he slipped into the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown that ended a 68-yard, 8-play series.

Alabama-Birmingham … Johnson produced 112 all-purpose yards on 12 runs for 51 yards, a 7-yard catch and two kickoff returns for 54 yards while also making a solo tackle … Set up a 22-yard field goal with 11 & 3-yard runs that placed the ball at the UAB 5 midway through the first quarter … His first-and-goal 3-yard run set up an ECU 22-yard third quarter field goal.

Memphis … The tailback gained a season-high 106 yards with two touchdowns on 22 carries, including six runs that produced first downs. He added 52 yards on two kickoff returns and 22 yards on two catches for 180 all-purpose yards, but also turned the ball over once on a fumble before suffering a left great toe sprain late in the game … Johnson had goal-line runs of 6 & 2 yards, but then coughed up the ball at the Memphis 2 and the Tigers scored on a 23-yard pass play based on that turnover … He made up for that miscue in the second quarter with three 6-yard runs, with the final 6-yarder resulting in a touch-down that capped a 10-play, 80-yard series … He broke free for a 17-yard run around left end, followed by a first-and-goal 5-yard touchdown run over right guard midway through the third quarter … Record Watch-Johnson collected his first 100-yard rushing performance of the season, the fourth of his career and first since Marshall (106) on Nov. 19, 2005 … With Johnson's three-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, ECU extended its streak to 103 consecutive games without being shutout. The last time the Pirates were blanked was on Oct. 4, 1997 against Syracuse in the Carrier Dome, 56-0.

West Virginia … Johnson started, but after gaining 5 yards on five carries, he left the game due to his turf toe injury and did not return.

Virginia … Johnson had his 18-game starting string snapped when he missed the game due to a turf toe injury.

Tulsa … The tailback returned to action as a reserve, seeing just a few plays on the field, as he ran four times for 11 yards, caught a 9-yard pass and returned two kickoffs for 26 yards.

Southern Methodist … Johnson only carried once for a 1-yard gain, but added 78 yards on three kickoff returns. He caught five passes for 45 yards, but also fumbled once … He recovered his own fumble on a late second quarter kickoff return and made up for that miscue with a third quarter 51-yard kickoff return that set up an ECU 36-yard field goal.

Southern Mississippi … Johnson earned Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week honors as he returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown, finishing with 116 yards on two returns, 6 yards on two carries and 20 yards on two catches to finish with 142 all-purpose yards … His late fourth quarter 13-yard reception set up a 2-yard scoring run by QB James Pinkney … Record Watch-Johnson's 96-yarder was the sixth-longest kickoff return in school history and the longest since 1994 when Mitchell Galloway returned one for 97 yards against Tulsa … It was also ECU's first kickoff return for a touch-down in 33 games (Damarcus Fox 94 yards vs. Memphis Nov. 1, 2003) … His 96-yarder was the first touchdown on a kickoff return by a Golden Eagle opponent since Zek Parker of Louisville returned a kick 94 yards on Nov. 20, 1999. The return was also the first surrendered by Southern Miss since James Bouldin tallied one during the 1989 campaign for Mississippi State and third all-time in Roberts Stadium.

Central Florida … The tailback picked up 16 yards on five carries and 13 yards on a kickoff return.

Marshall … Johnson was limited to three carries for 9 yards, a 21-yard kickoff return and 40 yards on five catches … His 9-yard gain on a second-and-3 screen pass set up an ECU 22-yard field goal … He added a third-and-6 catch over the middle for 17 yards and an 11-yard run to set up QB James Pinkney's 29-yard scoring strike to Phillip Henry late in the second quarter.

Rice … Seeing his first extensive action in seven games, Johnson rushed twelve times for 83 yards and a touchdown. He also had a 23-yard kickoff return … The tailback scored on a third quarter 43-yard run, that he set up with rushes of 9, 8 & 5 yards … Late in the game, the Pirates took over at their own 46 after Rice failed on an onside kick attempt, but after losing two yards on the first two plays, ECU's James Pinkney tried to ice the game by attempting to pick up the first down with a pass to Chris Johnson that was just off his finger tips, stopping the clock with just over a minute remaining.

North Carolina State … After getting considerable touches the previous week, Johnson received few opportunities with the ball vs. State, as he ran once for 2 yards, caught a 15-yard pass and returned two kickoffs for 25 yards … Record Watch-Johnson's 15-yard catch in the first quarter set a new school record for receiving yards by a running back (760). He already holds the school's record for receptions by a running back with 87.

South Florida (PapaJohns.com Bowl) … Johnson started the game at flanker, catching one pass for 8 yards and also gained 58 yards on four kickoff returns.

2005 Season

Recipient of the team's Janet Overton Decal Award (top performances) … Started all eleven games at tailback, ranking ninth in Conference USA with an average of 62.18 yards per game rushing and second in all-purpose yardage (136.27 ypg) … Paced the Pirates with 176 carries for 684 yards (3.9 avg) and six touchdowns … Second on the squad with 35 catches for 356 yards (10.2 avg) and two scores … Returned 21 kickoffs for 459 yards (21.9 avg) and scored 48 points … Gained 1,499 all-purpose yards on 232 attempts … Turned the ball over four times on fumbles.

2005 Game Analysis

Duke … Opened the season with 65 yards on 20 runs and caught four passes for 48 yards.

Wake Forest … Gained 253 all-purpose yards, totaling 102 yards with a touchdown on thirteen carries, three catches for 29 yards and 122 yards on four kickoff returns … He had 9, 3 & 17-yard carries to set up his 12-yard touchdown run off left tackle that ended an 8-play, 64-yard third quarter drive.

West Virginia … Followed with 22 attempts for 92 yards and seven receptions for 39 yards.

Southern Mississippi … Amassed 211 all-purpose yards, as he ran 18 times for 70 yards and a touchdown, adding 100 yards on four kickoff returns and 41 yards on five catches …

He had a 9-yard catch, 23, 1 & 3-yard runs, but then turned the ball over on a fumble five minutes into the game on a 5-yard carry to the USM 7 … He made up for that miscue with 10 & 5-yard carries and a 10-yard reception before capping a second quarter 74-yard, 7-play series with a 1-yard touchdown run around left end.

Rice … Johnson rushed thirteen times for just 3 yards, but caught six passes for 129 yards and a touchdown. He also had a 27-yard kickoff return … The Pirates scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, the highlight coming on an 81-yard touchdown reception by Chris Johnson that sealed the victory … Record Watch-Johnson's 81-yarder was the sixth-longest reception in school history and the longest since Marcus Crandell threw an 85-yarder to Mitchell Galloway vs. Tulsa in 1995.

Southern Methodist … Johnson rushed 25 times for 63 yards and had a 5-yard grab.

Memphis … He totaled 22 yards on six rushing attempts, 53 yards on two kickoff returns and 40 yards with a touchdown on five receptions … He kept an early fourth quarter series alive by converting a third-and-2 run into a 6-yard gain and then ended that 7-play, 78-yard drive with a 6-yard touchdown catch.

Central Florida … Carried nine times for 56 yards and caught two passes for 5 yards.

Tulsa … Produced 53 yards on ten carries and 40 yards on three kickoff returns.

Marshall … Rushed for a season-high 106 yards on eighteen chances with three touch-downs, caught one pass for 21 yards and returned four kickoffs for 57 yards, totaling 184 all-purpose yards … 14 & 7-yard runs up the middle were followed by Johnson's 2-yard scoring plunge midway through the second quarter … He ended the first half scoring with a 16-yard touchdown jaunt on a draw play … Early in the fourth quarter, he caught a third-and-7 pass over the middle for 21 yards, ran for 11 yards up the middle of the line and then raced left for a 2-yard touchdown to conclude an 11-play, 85-yard series.

Alabama-Birmingham … Closed out the season with 22 attempts for 52 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown at the end of the first quarter … Also returned three kickoffs for 60 yards.

2004 Season

Conference USA All-Freshman Team choice … Named the team's Outstanding Newcomer of the Year … Played in eleven games as a true freshman, starting vs. Louisville, Tulane, Southern Mississippi, Southern Florida, Memphis and North Carolina State at tailback, but earned his first career start as a receiver in the Wake Forest clash, the position he was originally recruited to play … Led the team with 561 yards and five touchdowns on 134 carries (4.2 avg) … Finished second on the squad with 32 receptions for 236 yards (7.4 avg) and a pair of scores … Returned 37 kickoffs for 765 yards (20.7 avg) … Completed both pass attempts, but netted no yardage … Recorded one solo tackle and scored 42 points … Ranked fourth in the conference with an average of 142.0 all-purpose yards per game, the 24th-best figure in the Division 1-A ranks … Touched the ball 203 times for a career-high 1,562 all-purpose yards … Turned the ball over twice on fumbles.

2004 Game Analysis

West Virginia … Johnson made his collegiate debut by gaining 7 yards on two runs and 100 yards on five kickoff returns … His first career touch was a 15-yard kickoff return in the first quarter and his first career carry was good for 4 yards with 4:14 left in the game.

Wake Forest … Amassed 96 yards on only six runs, including a career-long 86-yard touch-down on a burst around left end late in the second quarter … He had a 5-yard reception and 42 yards on two kickoff returns, earning his first career start as a receiver … Record Watch- Johnson's 86-yard rushing attempt is the seventh-longest run from scrimmage in school history, topped only by Eddie Hicks (95 yards vs. William & Mary, 1977), Dave Alexander (93 vs. Howard, 1964), Leonard Henry (93 vs. Tulane, 2001), Ken Strayhorn (88 vs. Davidson, 1973), Leander Green (87 vs. Richmond, 1979) and Eddie Hicks (87 vs. Virginia, 1975).

Cincinnati … Gained 29 yards on five rushes, 8 yards on a catch and 74 yards on three kick-off returns.

Louisville … Added 65 yards on 20 attempts, 6 yards on two catches and 132 yards on seven kickoff returns for 203 all-purpose yards in his first career start as a tailback.

Tulane … Followed with 31 carries for a career-high 158 yards and two touchdowns, a catch for a 3-yard loss and 57 yards on three kickoff returns to total 212 all-purpose yards … Ran for a 56-yard touchdown over right end on a third-and-1 play early in the first quarter and had a 5-yard scoring burst over left end in the second quarter.

Southern Mississippi … Ran for 23 yards on eleven rushes, caught seven passes for 73 yards and gained 30 yards on two kickoff returns … Ran for 14 yards and then converted a third-and-goal draw play into a 3-yard gain, setting up James Pinkney's 3-yard touchdown pass to Johnson to conclude a 20-play, 84-yard fourth quarter drive.

Army … Gained 39 yards on twelve runs, including a third-and-1 attempt for a 5-yard touch-down that capped a 68-yard, 10-play third quarter series … Also made five catches for 20 yards.

South Florida … Totaled 64 yards on thirteen attempts, caught five passes for 58 yards, including a score and returned five kickoffs for 90 yards, piling up 212 all-purpose yards … Ended a 6-play, 62-yard fourth quarter drive with an 18-yard reception.

Memphis … Rushed thirteen times for 43 yards and a touchdown while snaring six passes for 43 yards and returning two kickoffs for 43 yards … Set up his 1-yard scoring run with a 7-yard scamper over left end, concluding a 77-yard, 13-play drive.

North Carolina State … Closed out his freshman season with a total of 177 all-purpose yards, as 144 of those yards came on six kickoff returns … Rushed thirteen times for 15 yards and caught two passes for 8 yards.

Injury Report

2006: Sat out spring drills to recover from neck surgery … Suffered a left big toe injury (turf toe) vs. Memphis (9/16), limiting his playing time the rest of the season and forced him to sit out the Virginia game (10/07).

Agility Tests

Campus: 4.25 in the 40-yard dash … 375-pound bench press … 425-pound squat … 330-pound power clean … 43.5-inch vertical jump … 30 1/4-inch arm length … 7 1/4-inch hands … Right-handed … 10/29 Wonderlic score.

High School

Attended Olympia (Orlando, Fla.) High School, playing football for head coach Mike Cullison … Johnson earned All-Orange County honors as a senior and was selected the Most Valuable Player for his performance in the Orange County All-Star Game … Rated among the top 100 players in state of Florida by Super Prep, as he scored eight touchdowns during his final campaign, despite missing four contests with an injury … As a junior, he rushed for more than 1,000 yards … A standout weight lifter, he boasted the top power numbers among the team's skill position players with a 265-pound power clean-lift and a 315-pound bench-press … Also competed in track … Was timed at 10.38 in the 100-meter sprint and ran the anchor leg on the fastest 4x100 relay team in the nation that won Golden South and Golden West national titles.

Personal

Communications major … Born Christopher Johnson on 9/23/85 … Resides in Orlando, Florida.

 
 

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