Auburn QB Jeremy Johnson runs reported 4.51-second 40-yard dash
SEC defenses everywhere can be forgiven if they’ve wet the front of their pants Friday afternoon.
It would be an appropriate reaction to a report that Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson, now 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash.
Auburn QB Jeremy Johnson says he wants to get his 40 time down to 4.48. Last clocked at 4.51. Expects to be Cam Newton-type runner
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) April 3, 2015
More context on how a 4.51 40 would compare, if it were legit: Tre Mason 4.5 Cameron Artis-Payne 4.53 Jadeveon Clowney 4.53 Cam Newton 4.59
— James Crepea (@JamesCrepea) April 3, 2015
If Johnson, advertised as a pro-style quarterback thanks to a rocket arm and more of a passing background than last year’s starter Nick Marshall, can run the ball even 90 percent as well as Cam Newton, the Tigers offense could be championship-worthy in 2015.
(By the way, Newton is listed at 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds. Johnson could be a carbon copy by the start of the season.)
At the ’15 NFL Combine, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, ran 4.52 seconds. San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick (4.53) and Seattle’s Russell Wilson (4.55) also ran slower at their Combine testing.
Granted, times reported during spring almost always are a) hand-timed and b) started/stopped at generous intervals by team coaches. An electronically-timed 40-yard dash can add one or two tenths of a second to a time. So realistically, Johnson probably is a 4.6 guy at this point. But that’s enough to run away from all but the very fastest defensive linemen and middle linebackers.
Based on Johnson’s 40 time, and his stated goal to run like Cam Newton, Auburn may not have to tweak its offense as much as it seemed initially.
With the team set to upgrade at H-back with Kamryn Pettway or early-enrollee Chandler Cox, and a backfield loaded with options despite the exits of Cameron Artis-Payne and Corey Grant, the Tigers could be one of the best running teams in the country once again this fall.
Only now coach Gus Malzahn will have at his disposal what could be an NFL-caliber arm.