BEND — Trevorris Johnson has yet to fully acclimate to Oregon’s dry air, lush forests and mountainous scenery.
Luckily for the self-described city kid from Houston, football is still football.
Johnson is one of many Oregon State running backs fighting for playing time as fall camp trudges on at Summit High. The fifth-year graduate transfer from TCU has been struck by the surrounding talent.
“I honestly feel like we’ll have the best backfield in the Pac-12, hands down,” Johnson said. “We have the talent and it’s a great group of guys. No matter who starts, it doesn’t matter as long as we take care of our business.”
Johnson was productive in limited action with the Horned Frogs last season, rushing for 225 yards and four touchdowns on 41 carries. He finished his TCU career with 789 yards and eight scores.
At 6-feet and 237 pounds, Johnson will give the Beavers another solid runner to mix and match with Ryan Nall (6-2, 237), Artavis Pierce (5-11, 207) and Thomas Tyner (5-11, 232).
“He’s a big, strong, physical back that can hit the ball downhill,” head coach Gary Andersen said of Johnson. “We have a bunch of guys back there and they are all good. They all have their own little things they do … better than the other, or differently from each other.”
Johnson committed to OSU in April after the coaching staff reached out to him during the offseason. He arrived on campus in mid-July.
Andersen, running backs coach Telly Lockette and wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator Jason Phillips made a strong impression on the Texas native.
“The vibe I was getting from all three of those guys, it just felt like they really cared and wanted the best for me,” Johnson said. “I fell in love with it, the passion they have for the game, the passion they have for their players. I could see the kind of program they are building around here and see big things to come.”
Johnson was highly-recruited out of Houston’s Alief Taylor High, choosing TCU over offers from Arkansas, California and Utah, among others. He also visited Oregon during the recruiting process.
As a prep senior, Johnson rushed for 2,115 yards and 19 TDs while earning District 18-5A Offensive Most Valuable Player. The power back played in 36 games for TCU but started just once.
Andersen said the coaching staff is limiting Johnson’s touches early in fall camp.
“He’s banging around and ready to go; he just needs to get in shape,” the coach said. “When kids come into a program and they come in late, it’s hard to jump in there. So we’re being extremely smart, being careful with him to make sure we get him some reps to get him in the offense.”
Moving from Texas to Oregon has been a major adjustment for Johnson.
With Aug. 26’s opener at Colorado State looming, Johnson is beginning to feel comfortable in his new environment.
“I think I’m finally starting to get acclimated,” he said. “I’ve got to say, I’m loving it out here. I love seeing all the trees and the mountains. It’s new to me and I’m enjoying it so far.”