Best High School Athlete - 2012
Randy "Duke" Johnson
At Miami Norland Senior High School, running back Randy "Duke" Johnson was so good he was bad. So good that his corkscrew sprints through opposing defenses led entire stadiums to chant his nickname — "Duuuke!" — as if booing bums off the field. So good that he ran for 2,087 yards and 27 touchdowns in his senior season, including five in the 5A state championship game (Norland annihilated Crawfordville Wakulla 38-0). And so good that he joined Tim Tebow, Travis Henry, and Daunte Culpepper as winners of the Florida Mr. Football Award. But unlike other high school prospects whose heads are turned hither and yon by competing programs, Johnson committed in the fall of his junior year to the U and hasn't looked back. Even when the Canes finished the 2010 season with three straight losses and sacked coach Randy Shannon — who had recruited Johnson — Duke stayed with the ailing program. He even helped recruit others to join new UM coach Al Golden's rebuilding project. For a team beset by the Nevin Shapiro scandal off the field and mediocrity on it, Johnson promises to carry the Canes into a brighter future. Just don't mistake those "Duuuke"s for boos.