The 2018 NFL Draft began Thursday night in Arlington, Texas. Kerryon Johnson was taken Friday by the Detroit Lions in the second round with the No. 43 pick. He followed Auburn guard Braden Smith, who went to the Indianapolis Colts with the 37th overall pick.
Johnson emerged as one of the biggest breakout stars in the SEC last season and finished with an incredibly productive career on the Plains. Here are five things you need to know about the Auburn running back:
1. Kerryon Johnson was 2017 SEC Offensive Player of the Year
Johnson rushed for 1,391 yards and 18 touchdowns last season for Auburn, which won the SEC West after knocking off then-No. 1 teams Georgia and Alabama in a span of three weeks. He led the SEC in rushing at 115.9 yards per game. In eight of the 12 games he played in last season, Johnson rushed for at least 100 yards. He was the first Auburn player to win SEC Offensive Player of the Year since Tre Mason in 2013.
2. Kerryon Johnson can do it all as running back
One of the biggest positives for Johnson in the draft process has been his versatility. He amassed nearly 1,200 yards on top of his 2,400-plus career rushing yards on the Plains as both a receiving and kick returning option. Johnson established himself as a tough pass protector next to quarterback Jarrett Stidham in 2017, helping the Tigers develop one of the most balanced offenses in college football.
3. Kerryon Johnson was prolific high school player
Johnson’s impressive numbers started during his high school days, when he was a star running back at Madison (Ala.) Academy. Johnson was the 2014 Mr. Football award winner for Alabama after rushing for more than 1,600 yards and 25 touchdowns as a senior. He was part of three consecutive state championship teams. The former Gatorade Alabama Player of the Year also was an all-state basketball player during his time with the powerhouse Mustangs.
4. Kerryon Johnson posted impressive numbers at NFL combine
Johnson’s athleticism made him stand out at the NFL combine in March. Johnson posted a 40-inch vertical leap, which was second only to Penn State superstar Saquon Barkley at his position and was inside the top 15 for running backs since 2006. His 10-foot-6-inch broad jump ranked third among running backs. At Auburn’s pro day, Johnson ran an unofficial 4.54 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
5. Kerryon Johnson is must-follow on Twitter
Few college football players, especially at Auburn, developed as strong of a social media presence as Johnson (@AyeyoKEJO). Highlight tweets from Johnson include ones about his undying love for Rihanna, video games, Chick-fil-A, Kendrick Lamar, Damian Lillard and how people at airports make fun of his first name.