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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Former Louisiana Running Back Rejoins Head Coach Billy Napier At Florida

Napier bolsters running back corps with former player from the transfer portal

<p>Louisiana-Lafayette head coach Billy Napier is congratulated by Louisiana-Monroe Offensive Coordinator Rich Rodriguez after Louisiana-Lafayette won 21-16 in an NCAA college football game in Lafayette, La., Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton) Napier will be reunited with former running back Montreal Johnson in Gainesville next year.</p>

Louisiana-Lafayette head coach Billy Napier is congratulated by Louisiana-Monroe Offensive Coordinator Rich Rodriguez after Louisiana-Lafayette won 21-16 in an NCAA college football game in Lafayette, La., Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton) Napier will be reunited with former running back Montreal Johnson in Gainesville next year.

Former Louisiana running back Montrell Johnson announced Thursday he will join the Florida Gators football team next season. The 2021 Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year follows head coach Billy Napier to the Swamp after having a stellar season at Louisiana.

Last year, Johnson led the Ragin’ Cajuns in rushing touchdowns (12) and was second on the teams in rushing yards (838). The tailback also caught six passes for 53 yards and had a 150-rushing-yard performance against Arkansas State on Oct. 21. 

Johnson had chosen Louisiana over Arizona, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Virginia. 

"He’s not only a talented player, but he’s a good teammate, really smart, bright kid,” Napier said about Johnson following Louisiana’s 28-27 victory over Arkansas State on Oct. 21, where Johnson scored a 99-yard rushing touchdown. “He’s been humble, and he works hard in practice the right way.” 

The sophomore made his announcement via Twitter.

The move comes at a perfect time for the Gators after running backs Malik Davis and Dameon Pierce declared for the 2022 NFL Draft earlier this month. 

Florida strongly relied on the ground game last season, finishing fourth in the SEC with 208.8 rushing yards per game. UF’s success on the ground largely dried up in the second half of the season, however, rushing for under 100 yards in its final two SEC games. 

Johnson, a New Orleans, Louisiana, native, was a 3-star prospect according to 247 sports and joins Nay'Quan Wright, Lorenzo Lingard, Demarkcus Bowman and Carlson Joseph as the squad’s running backs. 

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