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Junior college all-purpose back picks UNLV over Oregon State

UNLV’s football team got a little faster on Wednesday, signing speedy all-purpose back Eric Johnson.

Johnson, who reportedly runs 40 yards in 4.3 seconds, became the Rebels’ second midyear junior college signee, choosing UNLV over Oregon State.

He said he wasn’t sure if Beavers running back Jacquizz Rodgers would return for his senior season but that he also wanted “to go somewhere and make a name for myself.”

“I want to make my own footprints,” Johnson said. “I want to help build a program.”

The Rebels don’t appear to be finished signing midyear players because they didn’t issue a release regarding Johnson. NCAA rules allow only one announcement per signing period.

UNLV previously signed quarterback Sean Reilly of Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Calif. Those who sign early can enroll in January and participate in spring practices.

Johnson (5 feet 8 inches, 180 pounds) rushed for 717 yards, averaging 6.2 per carry, this season at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif. He also averaged 25 yards on kickoff returns and 10.6 on punt returns.

Johnson was a junior college All-American at Reedley (Calif.) College in 2008 but missed the 2009 season because of a broken collarbone.

He canceled a trip to Utah this past weekend to go to Arkansas State because his high school quarterback, Ryan Aplin, plays there. He said he also had been talking to Oregon State, and his decision came down to the Beavers and Rebels.

Miami and West Virginia each offered Johnson a scholarship as a slot receiver.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914.

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