With Gophers receiver Rashad Still expected to miss four weeks with a shoulder injury, the team is relieved to have another emerging target in true freshman Tyler Johnson.
The coaches were raving about the Minneapolis North grad's potential late in training camp, and it played out in the season opener, when he had three receptions for 31 yards. Johnson also had a key block on Mitch Leidner's first touchdown run.
"He’s already made a ton of growth from our first throwing session in the summer," Leidner said. "I would have never been able to guess that he would be able to play this year. I was watching how raw he was right away. I was like, 'Oh, this kid will probably redshirt. And he ends up being really good in camp and getting better ever single day. So I think throughout the season, he’s going to continue making big strides."
Johnson was a quarterback and safety in high school, but in less than a year he's made the transition to college receiver.
"To have a true freshman come in, local talent that came and did the things he does was exceptional," offensive coordinator Jay Johnson said. "Now, there are many technique and fundamental things that he has to improve upon, but that's somewhat expected. But when the play came his way, he made the play. Very ecstatic about him now we got to just keep improving."