Auburn RB Johnson to enter NFL draft

The Sports Xchange

January 02, 2018 at 10:16 pm.

Kerryon Johnson is off to the NFL. Photo Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Kerryon Johnson is off to the NFL. Photo Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Kerryon Johnson, Auburn’s leading rusher and the Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Year, is giving up his final year of eligibility to enter the 2018 NFL draft.

Johnson was named second-team All-American this season after rushing for 1,391 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns and adding 24 receptions for 194 yards and two scores.

“There aren’t enough words to express how grateful I am of the opportunity Auburn University has given me,” Johnson said Tuesday on Twitter. “This is truly an amazing school with an amazing fan base. With that being said … I have decided to enter the NFL Draft. Thank you all for the endless support that has not always been deserved. I love Auburn and the Auburn family. War Eagle!”

Johnson’s college career ended with 71 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown in the Peach Bowl loss to Central Florida on Monday. He was slowed by rib and shoulder injuries in the SEC championship game. projects Johnson to be drafted in the middle rounds.

“I would like to thank KJ for all he has done for our program over the last three years,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “Kerryon has made this team better both on and off the field with his great character, competitiveness and leadership. He will be very successful at the next level and more importantly in life. We wish KJ nothing but the best.”

The injury-plagued Johnson was sidelined for two games at the start of this season with a hamstring issue. He also battled shoulder and ankle problems the first two years of his college career.

Johnson ended up with 2,494 career rushing yards and 32 touchdowns on 519 carries and 55 receptions for 478 yards and two touchdowns.

Teammate Jarrett Stidham, a redshirt sophomore quarterback, is contemplating a possible leap to the NFL after passing for 3,158 yards with 18 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2017.

“I’m about to go hunting for three days out in the middle of nowhere pretty much, and I’m going to think about everything then,” Stidham said.