Skip to main content

Gophers wide receiver Tyler Johnson is entering Ron Johnson and Eric Decker territory

Tyler Johnson leads the Big Ten and is seventh in the nation in receiving yards.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

The college football season is two weeks old and Gophers sophomore wide receiver Tyler Johnson leads the Big Ten and ranks seventh nationally with 268 receiving yards. 

Head coach P.J. Fleck said the story of Saturday's 48-14 win at Oregon State was the rushing attack, fueled by 93 yards apiece for Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks. But the most exciting player on the field was once against Johnson, who caught a slant at the 50 and raced to the end zone for a 67-yard touchdown. 

Johnson had a 61-yard touchdown on a similar catch and run against Buffalo. 

"I think he's getting better and better," said Fleck. "He's almost doubled his career performance in two games. That's a credit to him. He works extremely hard, he's a very selfless player, he's turning into a wonderful leader." 

Minnesota quarterback Conor Rhoda threw the ball eight times on Saturday. Johnson caught four of those eight for 127 yards. 

"The kid comes to work and he comes to play when the lights are on," Rhoda said of Johnson. "His confidence is through the roof right now, and it makes it that much better to throw to somebody who's playing fast like that."

"It's a huge difference for our offense, and that's something we've lacked in recent years, making those big plays," Rhoda added. 

Johnson is worth getting excited about. Fleck told KFAN after Week 1 that Johnson "has all the makings to become a wide receiver like Corey Davis, whom Fleck coached at Western Michigan and was the No. 5 pick in this year's NFL Draft (Davis had 6 catches for 69 yards with the Titans on Sunday). 

With 268 yards and two touchdowns already this season, Johnson is well on his way to putting up one of the Gophers' best wide receiver seasons of the last 20 years. 

  • 2016: Drew Wolitarsky - 66 catches, 860 yards, 5 TD
  • 2015: K.J. Maye - 73 catches, 773 yards, 5 TD
  • 2014: Maxx Williams - 36 catches, 569 yards, 8 TD
  • 2013: Maxx Williams - 25 catches, 425 yards, 5 TD
  • 2012: A.J. Barker - 30 catches, 577 yards, 7 TD
  • 2011: Da'Jon McKnight - 51 catches, 760 yards, 4 TD
  • 2010: Da'Jon McKnight - 48 catches, 750 yards, 10 TD
  • 2009: Eric Decker - 50 catches, 758 yards, 5 TD
  • 2008: Eric Decker - 84 catches, 1,074 yards, 7 TD
  • 2007: Eric Decker - 67 catches, 909 yards, 9 TD
  • 2006: Logan Payne - 59 catches, 804 yards, 9 TD
  • 2005: Ernie Wheelwright - 37 catches, 568 yards, 5 TD
  • 2004: Ernie Wheelwright - 30 catches, 654 yards, 7 TD
  • 2003: Jared Ellerson - 44 catches, 909 yards, 4 TD
  • 2002: Aaron Hosack - 29 catches, 649 yards, 3 TD
  • 2001: Ron Johnson - 56 catches, 898 yards, 9 TD
  • 2000: Ron Johnson - 59 catches, 1,067 yards, 11 TD
  • 1999: Ron Johnson - 43 catches, 574 yards, 7 TD
  • 1998: Luke Leverson - 60 catches, 854 yards, 9 TD
  • 1997: Tutu Atwell - 58 catches, 924 yards, 5 TD

Next Up

Gov. Tim Walz and Scott Jensen.

Walz, Jensen clash over 'extreme' abortion views

The two clashed over the topic on Tuesday, following the Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Screen Shot 2022-06-28 at 12.24.27 PM

Movie filming brings memorable day for MN teen with leukemia

Ayotzin Limon-Millard was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia last year.

Screen Shot 2022-06-28 at 1.25.30 PM

Police trying to ID 'Playboy bandit' and 'no-pants raider' suspect

Police are calling the unidentified man "the Playboy bandit" and the "no-pants raider."

storm, severe, shelf cloud

Twin Cities under severe thunderstorm watch Tuesday afternoon

Large hail and damaging winds are the main threats.

Screen Shot 2022-06-28 at 9.27.30 AM

Famous Dave's family brings new BBQ biz to the south metro

The newest Twin Cities location is the first to offer wine slushies on the menu.

storm, shelf cloud, severe weather

Large hail possible with strong storms in eastern MN, WI

Watch the forecast update with meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.

Tony Evers, Wisconsin governor

WI governor vows to protect anyone charged with abortion crimes

“You think it’s bad now? The four Republicans that are going after me, one of them we’re going to beat, they are going to make it worse," Evers said.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, June 28

The state will stop providing daily updates and move to weekly editions beginning Thursday, June 30.


Sports anchor Hobie Artigue announces FOX9 departure

Artigue has spent the past seven years covering Minnesota sports.

hennepin county medical center

Boy, 7, dies after being pulled from pool in south Minneapolis

The boy was pulled from a pool at a home in south Minneapolis.

Screen Shot 2022-06-28 at 8.32.18 AM

Nashville man leaving wedding shot in the face in Minneapolis

He was leaving a wedding when gunfire erupted near the Stone Arch Bridge Saturday night.


Abogados Café in St. Paul is the first law-themed coffee shop in America

The new business is Minnesota's first Latina-owned coffee shop.


Gophers lose to Michigan State despite Tyler Johnson's monster 4th quarter

The Gophers are tied for last in the Big Ten West division.

Watch: Gophers WR Tyler Johnson is a freaking dude

Johnson is blowing up fast as a big time wide receiver for the Gophers.

Tyler Johnson

Tyler Johnson dominates as Gophers win Outback Bowl

Johnson put a bow on his historic career at the University of Minnesota.

Tyler Johnson

Tyler Johnson 'shocked' by reports of character concerns

Johnson spoke with Darren Wolfson earlier this week.

Did Tyler Johnson hint that he'll return for his senior year?

The All-Big Ten wide receiver had a record-breaking season with the Gophers.

Eric Decker is the guest picker for 'College GameDay'

Decker starred for the Gophers from 2006 to 2009.

USC wide receiver Randal Grimes transfers to Gophers

He's 6-foot-4 and is said to have incredible athleticism.

Rashod Bateman

Rashod Bateman cleared by NCAA to play for Gophers this season

Bateman provides a big boost to the Gophers in the Big Ten.