TarHeelIllustrated - No. 22: Leon Johnson
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No. 22: Leon Johnson

Leon Johnson was often overlooked when it came to awards, but when his UNC career was over,  his excellence was obvious.
Leon Johnson was often overlooked when it came to awards, but when his UNC career was over, his excellence was obvious. (AP)

*Publisher's note: THI is ranking the top 25 football players in UNC history, gauging each player solely on their careers as Tar Heels. NFL accomplishments do not factor into these rankings.


No. 22

Name: Leon Johnson

Position: RB

Jersey #: 12

Years: 1993-96

Honors: Three-time All-ACC; First-team All-ACC 1996; ACC Rookie of the Year 1996.

Notable Stats: 3,693 career rushing yards; 43 career rushing TDs; 151 career receptions; 1,288 career receiving yards; four career receiving TDs; Returned 16 punts for 390 yards and two TDs; Returned 19 kickoffs for 457 yards and a TD; Scored 50 career touchdowns total; completed four passes in seven attempts for 130 yards and a TD; 4,981 career total yards; 5,828 career all-purpose yards.

In Closing: Johnson ran for 800 or more yards in each of his four seasons, including 1,012 in 1993. Also had 29 or more receptions each season, with a high of 54 in 1995. Johnson may be the second most multidimensional offensive player in Carolina history behind the great Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice. Vastly underrated, he never got the recognition he deserved in terms of honors and awards. Was part of two 10-win UNC teams, and his 28-yard touchdown run put Carolina ahead for good over Arkansas in the 1995 Carquest Bowl. He also ran for 195 yards in that game.

Amazingly, Johnson is the only player in ACC history to be in the top five in career all-purpose yards, career touchdowns, career scoring, top 10 in career rushing yards, and top 10 in career receptions. His 50 touchdowns remain one shy of the all-time ACC career mark. He is one of two non-kickers to score 300 or more points in his career.