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Gophers wide receiver Tyler Johnson is entering Ron Johnson and Eric Decker territory - Bring Me The News

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.
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P.J. Fleck congratulates wide receivers Demetrius Douglas (left) and Tyler Johnson (right). 

P.J. Fleck congratulates wide receivers Demetrius Douglas (left) and Tyler Johnson (right). 

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

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