- Corey Long, Reporter, RecruitingNation
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Shortly after Miami Norland's 38-0 victory over Crawfordville Wakulla in the Florida state championships, ESPNU 150 running back Randy "Duke" Johnson ran over to the sideline to retrieve a University of Miami hat.
"I just had to do it," said a smiling Johnson. "You know it's still all about The U."
And with that Johnson put the exclamation point on a day in which he had 253 total yards of offense and four touchdowns despite being on cruise control for much of the second half.
Given the efforts of Johnson in state playoff games against Belle Glade Glades Central and Palmetto, it was expected he would rush for 300, or maybe even 400 yards against Wakulla.
But he settled for 130 yards on the ground, 54 yards receiving and a 69-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. And that was more than enough.
"I knew the defense was going to come to play and they did," Johnson said. "So I wanted to just make sure I did what was asked and didn't make any mistakes."
The Under Armour All-American was one of the first Class of 2012 commits to Miami, committing near the start of his junior season.
Since then the program has went through several changes. Coach Randy Shannon was fired and replaced by Al Golden, and the scandal between the program and former booster Nevin Shaprio came to light. The NCAA investigation into Shaprio's allegations is ongoing and the end result for Miami's football program is unknown. But despite all the changes and controversy Johnson has been steadfast about his loyalty to Miami.
"Miami is home, this is where I'm from and the Hurricanes are what I've always been about," Johnson said. "My family and friends are here and even though Miami might be a little down, I know they will be back."
Miami Herald reporter Manny Navarro, who has covered preps and Johnson for years, says there was never a doubt that Johnson's commitment would be solid.
"He's very tight with his mother and he's just a loyal kid," Navarro said. "He had every school in the nation on him when he was a sophomore and he just never saw himself leaving the people that have always been there."
Johnson's committed with teammate Keith Brown, a four-star linebacker who later decommitted and switched to Illinois. Another teammate, offensive lineman Ereck Flowers, committed to the Hurricanes due in part to the influence of Johnson.
"He's a great guy to be around and I'm excited to know that we will be playing at Miami together," Flower said. "You see how competitive he is and how much he can drive you to be a being player.
"He's a great teammate."
For Johnson it was the finish he promised just minutes after losing to Tampa Jefferson in the state championship game last year.
"I told everyone we'd be back and we'd be champions," Johnson said.
Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.