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Player to Watch: Johnnie Lang

Iowa State’s freshman running back has been receiving rave reviews from the coaching staff.

Des Moines Register

Last week, my player to watch was David Montgomery. As you may have heard or seen, he had himself quite the game. The star running back was virtually untackleable, piling up over 160 total yards from scrimmage in the loss to Iowa. You can check out some of the highlights here in this week’s Post-Mortem.

For this week, I’m going to stay in the running back room, and go with true freshman running back Johnnie Lang. The tailback from Utah has been receiving rave reviews from the coaching staff throughout the offseason, and has been floated as a possible name to be the primary kick returner in Kene Nwangwu’s absence.

So far this season, Mike Warren has been the kickoff return man, but the junior hasn’t delivered the way the coaching staff, or the fans, would like. Especially during the Iowa game, the offense has been consistently left with long fields to work with after poor kick returns.

Enter Johnnie Lang.

With speed and elusiveness being his greatest assets, Lang seems to be a perfect fit for the kick return position. Given Mike Warren’s struggles this season, I would not be shocked to see Lang back returning kicks against an inferior opponent in Akron. Given the nature of this week’s opponent, and the likelihood of a less-than-close game in the second half, I would also expect Lang to see some work at running back with either the first or second team offense (the latter, more likely) once the fourth quarter rolls around.

I expect Lang to have multiple opportunities to showcase his ability this week against Akron, and I will certainly be looking out for #24 when he gets the chance.