Shaun Johnson begins his fifth season with the NM State football team as the Aggies’ running backs coach.
Johnson guided the running back Germi Morrison to lead the Aggies in rushing for the second straight season in 2013. Morrison rushed for a team-high 451 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 4.1 yards per rush. Johnson also helped running back Brandon Betancourt run for 415 yards and two scores on the year. As a group, the running back corps had 1,113 yards rushing and eight touchdowns on the season.
Morrison led rushers with 767 yards this season on 159 rushing attempts and scored two touchdowns in 2012 under Johnson’s guidance. Morrison averaged 63 yards rushing per game, which led Aggie running backs. Johnson also guided Tiger Powell, who rushed for 236 yards and scored a team-leading five rushing touchdowns. As a unit the running backs totaled 1,171 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns in 2012.
In 2011, Johnson guided running back Kenny Turner, who rushed for 1,074 yards and 10 touchdowns and was named a second team All-WAC selection. Turner became just the second 1,000-yard rusher for the Aggies since the 2000 season. The running back squad tallied 1,625 yards on the season and 16 touchdowns.
Johnson helped Turner lead the Aggies in rushing in 2010. Turner rushed for 461 yards on 115 carries, scoring two touchdowns. He also guided running back Seth Smith, who rushed for 385 yards and a team leading three touchdowns. On the year, the Aggies rushed for 1,549 yards as a team, scoring eight touchdowns on the ground.
Johnson came to NM State after spending three years as the Utah State running backs coach from 2006-08. During his final season, Johnson was responsible for developing Utah State’s current star running back Robert Turbin. In addition to directing the Utah State running backs, Johnson also coached the kickoff return unit. In 2006 and 2007, Johnson coached kick returner Kevin Robinson, who set the NCAA career all-purpose yards per play record. Robinson also became one of six players in NCAA history with a total of eight combined punt and kick returns for touchdowns in a career. Additionally, Robinson has the school record with four career kickoff returns for touchdowns.
Johnson, who played wide receiver at Utah State in 1993 and 1994, came to Logan, Utah, after spending two seasons at Brown University, where he coached the NCAA I-AA rushing leader Nick Hartigan. Hartigan was a first-team All-America selection and was one of three finalists for the Walter Payton Award given to the top player at the I-AA level after rushing for 172.2 yards per game. Brown won the Ivy League title in 2005 with a 9-1 record. The Bears averaged 409.2 yards of total offense to rank 22nd in the nation, including 219.3 rushing yards, a figure that ranked 16th in the country.
As a player at USU, Johnson was on the 1993 Utah State team that won the Big West Championship and the Las Vegas Bowl. In 1994, he played in all 11 games, catching 20 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson, who graduated from USU with a degree in journalism in 1995, coached at Hampden-Sydney College (1998), Adams State College (1999-2000), Brown (2001, 2004-05) and Langston (2002-03), prior to coming to Utah State.
Johnson is married to the former Marcia Halaufia and they have two children, Kavika and Makana.