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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/STATON BREIDENTHAL --9/29/16-- Catholic's Samy Johnson (left) runs past Bryant defender AJ Williams for a touchdown Thursday night during their game at War Memorial Stadium. - Photo by Staton Breidenthal

Little Rock Catholic Coach John Fogleman wasn’t expecting sophomore running back Samy Johnson to have more than 1,200 rushing yards at this point of the season.

“To be honest, we weren’t planning on him being the focal point of our offense, but he’s obviously turned into that,” Fogleman said. “He’s a sophomore, and you never know how a sophomore will handle things, and he’s handled success. He’s humble. He practices hard.”

Johnson, 5-11, 175 pounds, caught the attention of several attending an Arkansas camp in June by recording 4.50 seconds in the 40-yard dash despite stumbling at the start.

He has rushed 150 times for 1,237 yards and 13 touchdowns with two regular season games remaining and has made a good case for being one of the top in-state prospects in his class.

“You hate to give praises to a young kid, but he deserves it,” said Fogleman, who notes Johnson is also a good blocker. “He’s tougher than the typical sophomore. He’s proven to be faster than we thought.”

Johnson was a key reason for the Rockets’ 45-28 victory over Fort Smith Southside last week when he rushed 18 times for 117 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Before being hired by Catholic in the spring of 2013, Fogleman coached eight seasons at Malvern and led the Leopards to the playoffs five straight seasons and the Class 4A state title game in 2011.

Malvern produced several outstanding running backs during Fogleman's time there, including Steven Clegg, who rushed for more than 2,000 yards in only nine games as a senior.

“There were a couple of running backs down in Malvern that were really, really good, and he’s up there with those guys,’ said Fogleman of Johnson.

Johnson also plays for the Rockets basketball team and ran a leg on the 4x100 meter relay in track. Mostly in-state schools are showing interest in Johnson, but Fogleman expects more to reach out later in the year.

“He’s good worker, so I expect him to get better every year — working in the weight room,” Fogleman said.

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