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Ex-Gopher Tyler Johnson 'shocked' by reports of character concerns

Johnson spoke with Darren Wolfson earlier this week.

Tyler Johnson left the University of Minnesota on many high notes, including helping the Gophers win 10 games for the first time in more than 100 years and breaking virtually every receiving record in school history. 

Johnson's college career was impressive enough to warrant him being ranked 38th on Benjamin Solak's NFL Draft big board for The Draft Network. But for reasons unknown, next to Johnson's name is "Red Flag: Character." Why? There is no explanation. 

That report follows a similar claim from Bleacher Report's Matt Miller, who has said going back to last November that Johnson wasn't "getting good character reports from area scouts." 

When questioned about his reporting, Miller stood tall and said: "Nope. I'm good with the information obtained from 10+ NFL teams on him."

"No teams asked me about it at all, it's never been brought up. To the person that made that, they really don't know me, honestly. I don't know where they got it from, but they definitely don't know me," Johnson said in an interview with KSTP's Darren Wolfson, adding that hearing the report "shocked" him.

"Those cats don't really know me. They don't know where I'm from and small things about me like many other people know about me," Johnson said. "You just put it in one ear and out the other. You can't let that distract you. That right there is a distraction to me. I'm going to continue to be myself, be the best man I can possibly be, continue to love the game of football and be a huge impact to my community." 

Blake Baratz, founder of The Institute for Athletes and Johnson's agent, sent Bring Me The News a text saying the claims are unfounded. 

"Yea it's BS," he said. 

Ron Johnson, a Gopher great whose records were broken by Johnson, said in January that he's talked to numerous NFL and college personnel who have zero concerns with Johnson's character. 

"I can confirm there are no concerns about Tyler Johnson’s character," Johnson wrote

Johnson led the Gophers with 86 receptions, 1,318 yards, and 13 touchdowns this past season, including a memorable Outback Bowl win over Auburn in which he racked up 12 catches for 204 yards and two touchdowns.

Following that game, Gophers coach P.J. Fleck got emotional talking about how much Johnson meant to the team. 

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