AUBURN, Alabama — The weight room is more important than the practice field for Kerryon Johnson’s development.
Shoulder surgery in the offseason hurt Johnson’s development on the field, sure, but his progression hit a snag in the weight room more over the last few months, especially as Auburn tries to build him into a more complete running back.
“He’s a kid that really needs to get in that weight room because he’s always been someone that’s gone from football to basketball and then he didn’t play basketball his last year in high school because of a shoulder injury,” Auburn running backs coach Tim Horton said. “And then he didn’t get the offseason work there. I don’t know if missing the field time hurts as much as missing the weight room time because we would like him to become a more physical and more developed player that could take those 20-25 carries a game, if he had to.”
The 6-foot, 195-pound former Mr. Football in the state of Alabama shined as a freshman in 2015, rushing for 208 yards and three touchdowns while catching 14 passes for 159 yards.
The only running back on Auburn’s roster capable of carrying the ball 30 times a game appears to be Jovon Robinson, who Horton said Monday has “elevated” himself in the running back race.
Johnson missed spring practices but participated in individual work and performed in some pass routes individually near the end of spring drills. He ran the 40-yard dash during testing last week, too.
“KJ ran pretty well,” Horton said. “I think he will have a good summer to train.”