The long-awaited carry might finally come.
That’s because the comeback story of fourth-year Texas Longhorns running back Kirk Johnson is expected to continue into the 2019 season, as a school spokesman told Burnt Orange Nation on Wednesday that all indications are that Johnson will return for another year on the Forty Acres.
His last carry came late in the 2015 season against Texas Tech and resulted in a knee injury that ultimately derailed his career. Over the next two seasons, Johnson only appeared in one game after suffering numerous injuries and undergoing numerous surgeries.
The son of Longhorn legend Johnnie Johnson underwent a second surgery for a meniscus tear in 2016 that caused him to miss the entire season. A hamstring injury kept him out of the Orange-White game that spring. During the first practice of preseason camp in 2017, Johnson once again injured his hamstring.
And despite appearing in the season opener against Maryland on special teams, Johnson missed the rest of the season, eventually undergoing surgery on his ankle that prompted him to call it his “last shot.”
Johnson wasn’t able to walk for a month and a half, but continued to attack his rehabilitation with the same ferocity that earned him a reputation as a player who would push his body past its limits even when injured.
The surgery and subsequent rehabilitation were successful enough for the 2018 season to include some extremely positive developments for Johnson. For instance, despite the fact that he wasn’t in the rotation as one of the team’s top three running backs, the 6’0, 220-pounder has appeared in nine games on special teams this season since making his debut against Kansas State.
And so while Johnson hasn’t recorded any statistics this season, he made it through the regular season and the Big 12 Championship game without suffering any significant setbacks.
With the departures of graduate transfer Tre Watson and redshirt freshman Toneil Carter, there’s a chance that Johnson could work his way into the rotation next season, which would make it quite a comeback story, indeed.