Montrell Johnson Jr.
Florida running back Montrell Johnson Jr. (2) runs up the field against South Carolina during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Stamey)

Montrell Johnson Jr. Talks Upcoming Football Season

Sophomore Gators running back Montrell Johnson Jr. spoke after spring practice Thursday about his progress and the upcoming season. Johnson ran for 841 yards and 10 TDs for the Gators in 2022, averaging 5.4 yards per carry.

Being a leader

One thing Johnson stressed in his interview was the importance of being a leader this season, especially when it comes to pushing the new guys to be comfortable on the field.

In addition to creating cohesion on the field, Johnson believes a big part of being a good leader is creating bonds off the field. As second year players, he and Trevor Etienne are taking it upon themselves to “be the juice” to go in to the next season fresh.

The Gators offense heavily relies on the running backs, as they were top three in the SEC in rushing last season. The Gators also led the conference in yards per carry last season. As leaders within the locker room, Johnson and Etienne can set the tone for the Gators offense this season.

Growth of Montrell Johnson Jr.

Although Johnson had a very successful freshman campaign, there is always room to improve. He is focusing on paying attention to details this season, saying that he wants to improve on the little things in his game. Two specific areas he wants to improve in are his pass protection and route running. Johnson wants to be a bigger part of the gators passing offense this season, and he says the best way to do that is to “get open.”

A big part of Johnson’s success has been staying true to his play style. He says he’s at his best when he runs angry.

Johnson hopes to build off his freshman season and be better in 2023. He knows he has a long way to go, but the ultimate goal for Johnson is to the best running back in college football.

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