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UCF’s Jordan Johnson may be the most important key for a repeat of 2017

While McKenzie Milton is the Knights best player, its most important may be the man in front of him.

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at Central Florida
Center Jordan Johnson ranks among the best offensive lineman in college football.
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the first weekend of December 2018.

For college football fans it’s best known as the weekend the next Heisman trophy winner is crowned.

The following words are spoken, “I’m proud to announce that this year’s Heisman trophy winner is McKenzie Milton quarterback University of Central Florida.”

I’m here to tell Knights fans they should be just as eager to hear Jordan Johnson announced as the winner of the Rimington award winner for 2018.

While Milton is undoubtedly the team’s best player, Johnson may be the most important contributor on one of the nation’s most explosive offenses.

The American Athletic Conference first-team performer was a three-star recruit coming out of Ed White High School in Jacksonville when he signed with UCF in 2016.

All he’s done since is start 25 out of 26 contests and quickly become one of the best offensive linemen in that nation.

While the left tackle is tasked with protecting Milton’s “blind side,” the center is tasked with anchoring the line and putting the rest of the line in a position to succeed. Great centers are known as some of the smartest guys on and off the field.

Johnson is no exception. He ended his freshmen year with straight A’s and holds over a 3.5 GPA.

Why is Johnson so important?

I’ve picked out a few specific plays which show how invaluable he is in putting the fast in the UCFast offense.

Johnson’s natural position is guard which makes sense because his athleticism jumps out on tape. Watch this play where he pulls from his center position to cut down a Maryland linebacker. He, along with tackle Chavis Dickey, helps spring Otis Anderson for a 43 yard gain.

UCF’s Adrian Killins is arguably the most electrifying player in college football. Watch Johnson get from his center position and get to the second level of the defense to block the middle linebacker. Once Killins reaches the second level of the defense, there’s few players in America who can catch him, as he went for a 91 yard score on this play.

The final play is one of my favorites when watching the tape. Despite being listed at under 180 pounds, both are phenomenal runners between the tackles and deserve credit for their vision. However, the Knights improved inside running game starts with the offensive line.

Johnson went undefeated his senior year in high school as a wrestler. The footwork and hand skills learned as a wrestler show on this play.

He cleanly stands up the defensive tackle lined up in a 1-technique outside Johnson’s left shoulder.

With his solid block, left guard Tyler Hudanick is able to pull and block the linebacker, allowing Killins to showcase his world-class speed and take it the distance.

Johnson may be known most for his personality and providing one of the best gif’s on Twitter with his dance moves during a game. But make no mistake -- a huge key to unlocking another undefeated season lies with the play of number 72 for the Knights.