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Chargers WR Quentin Johnston feels like he's 'due for a breakout' in 2024

Quentin Johnston feels primed to bounce back in Year 2.

After disappointing throughout his rookie year, the Chargers' wide receiver believes he has better days ahead -- especially in the wake of Jim Harbaugh's hiring as Los Angeles' head coach.

"I didn't really get a chance to show who I really was and what type of player I am, but I still got the world of confidence in myself even if nobody doesn't," Johnston said, per ESPN’s Kris Rhim. "And so, you know, going into this next season, I can't wait. Like I said, I feel like I'm due for a breakout, so I'm very excited for that."

A 6-foot-4, 215-pound star out of TCU, Johnston was the second of four straight wide receivers drafted No. 20-23 overall heading into the 2023 season, a campaign in which he faded compared to his fellow first-round wideouts.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the first WR off the board, started slow but carved out a role alongside Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf in Seattle to finish the year with 63 receptions for 628 yards and four touchdowns.

Zay Flowers (No. 22 overall) established himself as Baltimore's No. 1 wideout, catching five touchdowns and leading the team with 858 yards on 77 catches, while Jordan Addison made an immediate impact with 70 catches, 911 yards and 10 TDs for Minnesota.

Other rookies from later rounds, such as Puka Nacua, Tank Dell and Jayden Reed, had contributions that dwarfed Johnston's.

He initially found playing time hard to come by, floating around 50% of offensive snaps or lower for the first six weeks until L.A.'s receiving corps was beset by injuries. He finished his inaugural season with 431 yards and two scores on 38 receptions.

Still, the Chargers struggled as a whole. The offense finished 21st in scoring, tied for its second-worst output in the past two decades, and its 18th-place finish in yards was tied for its lowest since 2014.

Johnston undeniably underperformed, but he is by no means a finished product after getting his footing for a single season. While he didn't look the part, he still possesses the intangibles that made him a first-round selection, and Harbaugh's arrival brings the sense that an already-superb Justin Herbert can ascend to yet another level of quarterbacking, which would provide a boost for everyone involved.

"His past experience with the 49ers and then going to college, I have no doubt in my mind that he can get that done with this team at this level once again," Johnston said of Harbaugh. "So we've got a world of confidence with him. I've been texting back and forth with some of the players, and we're very excited to get back to work."

The last time Johnston and Harbaugh shared a field, it was during the 2022 College Football Playoff Semifinal, when Johnston's TCU Horned Frogs took out Harbaugh's Michigan Wolverines, 51-45.

Johnston had six catches for 163 yards -- both more than he's had in an NFL game to this point -- plus a TD in that meeting.

Now destined to be on the same sideline, perhaps Harbaugh can help Johnston get back to those heights.

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