David Johnson: touchdown machine, record breaker, HOF rusher


RYAN HERRING, Sports Columnist

.Who is this Arizona Cardinals rookie running back that is just dominating the NFL? You know him; I know him; our whole campus knows him; and now football fans all over the country know him. UNI’s very own pride and joy, David Johnson, is literally making the most out of every opportunity presented to him; taking the National Football League by storm and earning a place in the Hall of Fame at the same time. That’s right, Johnson’s jersey and shoes he wore in last week’s game against the Chicago Bears are now enshrined and a part of history among the League’s greatest.

While Johnson is shocking the nation, there are a lot of folks around the Cedar Valley who knew he would succeed professionally, because they’ve had the luxury of seeing him play in a Panther uniform the last four years.

Johnson broke school records in rushing yards (4,687), all-purpose yards (6,859), rushing touchdowns (49), overall touchdowns (64) and points scored (384). So it was no doubt he was a talented player, but I don’t think evan the most biased UNI Panther fans out there would have ever predicted that David Johnson would have his personal gear on exhibit in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH after only two games.

He earned this after becoming the first player ever to have a rushing touchdown, receiving touchdown and kickoff return for a touchdown in his first two games. Needless to say, it has been a beyond stellar start for the rookie who was drafted in the third round by the Arizona Cardinals.

In his debut, he finally got a chance to make a play late in the fourth quarter on a screen pass, which resulted in a 55-yard-receiving touchdown to seal the game. On the catch he was clocked going 22.05 mph, by Next Gen Stats, which was the fastest top speed reached by any NFL player in week one.    

He then opened up the next game with an Arizona franchise record 108-yard kickoff return to the house. After that play, he had scored on two of the three plays he had touched the ball. He later had a 13-yard-rushing touchdown, making it three TDs on his first five touches. Johnson is currently sitting at nine combined touches, with 251 total yards (averaging almost 28 yards per touch) and three TDs. It’s just unreal. Maybe this whole transition to the NFL thing isn’t so hard after all when you are a 6”1’, 225 lbs., absolute beast.

All that being said, it is kind of surprising he hasn’t seen more playing time with the success he’s been having. He has obviously shown he can make plays, and it’s probably a safe bet that he’ll be a bigger part in the Cardinal’s game plans moving forward.

He was originally listed as the third-string back behind Andre Ellington and Chris Johnson. However, Ellington has been battling injury and Chris Johnson hasn’t been up to par so David Johnson could very well be the go-to running back moving forward. It’s unrealistic to think he’ll keep up this insane average he has going for him. But it is clear that Johnson is a very special player that is ready for a bigger piece of the pie.