UConn running back Ron Johnson announced, via Facebook, his intention to transfer for his final year of eligibility.
“I'd like to thank the University of Connecticut for allowing me to pursue my dreams and play the sport that I love so dearly,” said Johnson. “I've decided to transfer for my senior season as finish out my college career elsewhere.
Johnson came to UConn in the class of 2014 as the highest rated Husky commit on ESPN, added to the class by new head coach Bob Diaco after de-committing from Louisville. Johnson earned time as a true freshman, rushing for a career-high 429 yards on 114 carries along with three touchdowns.
Entering the 2015 season, Johnson won the starting job at running back over fellow sophomore Arkeel Newsome, but his production did not follow and Newsome took over the lead role. Johnson would finish with just 88 carries for 224 yards, just 2.5 yards per carry.
This past season, Johnson was expected to take his game to the next level. He showed flashes of improvement during the spring game, rushing for 91 yards on nine carries, including a 61-yard touchdown run.
Johnson started the season as the No. 2 running back and the coaching staff mainly used him as a third-down back despite his skill-set being better for a featured back. He barely eclipsed his 2015 mark with 242 yards, though his YPC improved to 3.2.
It would be unfair to blame Johnson completely for his lack of improvement over his three years. The offensive line was consistently a mess, rarely allowing Johnson much room to run. When the team would fall behind, they would need to throw the ball more often, which meant less rushing attempts. He also wasn't used properly by the outgoing staff.
With Johnson gone, the Huskies are now thin at the running back position with only Newsome, a senior, and redshirt freshmen Ja’Kevious Vickers and Nate Hopkins on scholarship. National Signing Day is only a few weeks away and the coaching staff will likely bring in reinforcements in the form of recruits or potentially grad transfers. It’s unlikely they begin next season with just three running backs on scholarship.