Though we are just one game into the season, it appears that Texas Longhorns sophomore standout Daje Johnson and new offensive play-caller Major Applewhite could very well be a match made in football Heaven.
In fact, Applewhite is the reason that Johnson ended up in Austin. Two seasons ago, after being recruited by then-Texas offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, Johnson chose to commit to play for the TCU Horned Frogs rather than the hometown Longhorns. However, after talking with Applewhite who made the promise to get the ball into his hands, Johnson switched his commitment to the Longhorns.
Last year, despite his remarkable talent, Johnson was vastly underused in Harsin’s offense, leaving fans wondering why. Now, with Harsin gone and Major having taken over as offensive coordinator and play-caller, Johnson has quickly become one of the brightest sparks on this new Texas offense.
Throughout the offseason, reports from Austin stated that Daje was simply too talented to keep off the field and that he was quickly becoming one of Major’s favorite weapons.
In his first game this season, Major fulfilled his promise to Daje and got the ball into Johnson’s hands early and often; Daje didn’t disappoint. He made plays in both the running and passing game, finishing the night with 128 total yards and two touchdowns, reminding Longhorn fans of other explosive former Longhorns Romance Taylor and Eric Metcalf.
Daje’s immense speed was certainly on display last Saturday, but beyond that, he’s incredibly strong. The 5’10”, 180-pound sophomore has been timed running a 4.28 forty and is able to squat 500 pounds and bench 335 pounds.
Again, though it’s still early, Daje’s performance has to leave Texas fans excited about their upcoming season. It’s one thing to know you have a talent like Johnson on your team; it’s another entirely to learn that you have a coach that knows how to use him and is adamant about feeding him the ball, as Major proved in the season-opener.
While it may be true that Applewhite is the best thing that could have happened to Daje on the football field, one has to feel that Daje very well could be the best thing to happen to the young coach trying to make a name for himself as well.