Ian Johnson's Swan Song

It's not often that a running back comes along with the gifts of Boise State's Ian Johnson. He has the complete package: toughness, patience, speed, the moves, the instincts--it's all there. He was a star in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. However, it's not the Fiesta Bowl but rather the 2008 football season that will define him and tell the world how far he and the Broncos can go.

Disappointments call on leaders to step forward.  After losing three games for only the second time in six seasons, including an embarrassing Hawai'i Bowl loss to East Carolina, Boise State needs a leader or two.  Seniors are counted on to help bring the team along and to lead by example.  The Sporting News Third Team All-America running back Ian Johnson has such an appointment with destiny.

 

With just 1,058 yards, Johnson can break the all-time Boise State record that has stood tall for 28 years.  Cedric Minter, who later scored the winning touchdown in Toronto's Grey Cup championship and played for the New York Jets, has watched runners come and go for the Broncos.  None have been able to match his four-year total of 4,475 career yards.  If Ian enters the fall tough and ready to return to the promise of his sophomore year, he has a shot.

 

But that's just the beginning of what Ian can accomplish.  With just 1,095 yards, IJ can crack the collegiate all-time list.  What's more, in the tightly-bunched list, 1,297 will rank him 25th in the history of the game.  And another season similar to his stellar sophomore season (1,759 yards) will propel the popular Johnson to 10th all-time, just 82 yards behind some guy named Herschel Walker.

 

Ian will be hard pressed to top the school record for touchdowns (held by Forsey with 68), but he is just 10 shy of 20th all-time.  Johnson needs 13 to reach the top ten and 20 will put his name into the record books as the #5 touchdown running back in history. 

Johnson can, however, easy smash the school mark for rushing touchdowns, needing just four to tie Forsey in that category. In fact, a performance similiar to 2006 for IJ (25 rushing touchdowns) would put him just five shy of the NCAA all-time record of 73.

 

Ian has been a workhorse for the Broncos, carrying the ball 603 times, which already stands fifth in the school record book.  He needs 210 to tie Brock Forsey for that mark, and is 5.7 yards per carry is within range of John Smith's 33-year old career record of 6.2.  He has gone over the century mark 14 times thus far (third all-time) and needs six to tie Minter there.  Two 200-yard rushing games will also tie Minter with four in his career.

 

All of this speculating is fine, but a great running back still is nothing without a solid offensive line.  Ian has the toughness and the moves in the open field, but he has to break beyond the line of scrimmage to showcase his talents.  The new look Bronco unit will have to show their stuff to give IJ a chance at history.

 

 Bronco fans knew the instant they saw #41 that he was special.  The 2008 season will reveal just how special he is.

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