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Minnesota Football Recruiting: James Johannesson Commits

Another big, physical running back joins the Gophers 2015 recruiting class.

Bob Levey

Salty Bison tears, once dehydrated, make a good rub for BBQ.

A one-cut and go power back with a big frame, expect Johannesson to take over for Nugget

Fargo (ND) South HS running back James Johannesson verbally committed to Minnesota this afternoon, yet another pledge from the weekend of the big Recruiting BBQ. A camp offer from the same weekend, James is a 3 star prospect according to 247Sports' Industry Composite, choosing Minnesota over listed offers from NDSU, North Dakota and Yale along with strong interest from Nebraska, where he also camped. Johannesson is the 12th member of the 2015 class and second running back commitment.


Gopher247's Kyle Goblirsh with James after his camp offer ($):

"The visit went really well" the 6-foot-1, 210-pound power back told 247Sports. "I got to sit in on some RB meetings before hand. The coaches said they like my unique running style and I would do well in their system." When asked if the Gophers run focused offense is something that intrigues or interests him as a physical back James replied, "Yeah, I love it."

Eric Peterson of the Fargo Forum shares a quote from JJ on why he ultimately picked the Gophers:

"If (Minnesota) would have offered me at linebacker, I honestly probably wouldn’t have wanted to go there at all," Johannesson said. "I probably would have (picked) NDSU because I wanted to play running back in college."

"I think it’s exciting any time you can send a running back to a Big Ten program," South head coach Troy Mattern said. "He wanted to play at an FBS school and play running back."

Fargo Flash has some opinions:

(Likely Fraudulent) Measurables**

** The section title is a bit. It's intentionally facetious comment on how recruiting sites (and even some college coaches) notoriously exaggerate traditional combine measures -- especially the 40. No offense is meant.

Height: 6'1"
Weight: 210 lbs.
Fake 40 Time: 4.51-4.58s


Junior Year:


Absurd Comparisons

Despite what the Fargo Flash tweeted out, I don't think Rex Burkhead is an appropriate comparison for Johannesson. He runs more like Nugget than Burkhead, and I see that being more of James' role moving forward.

Scheme Fit

A one-cut and go power back with a big frame, expect Johannesson to take over for Nugget after a redshirt season as the primary short yardage and goal line back. As he continues to grow and learn the offense, he should develop into a change of pace bruiser to compliment work horse Jeff Jones, speedy Berkley Edwards and the similarly tough Jonathan Femi-Cole. He's a patient runner with good vision, though his best attribute at this point is power. He hits the hole fast and with little indecisiveness.

Impact on Other Prospects?

Nebraska was looking at James at running back during his camp visit, though the Huskers were already full at the position and weren't going to offer at linebacker (despite his objections stated above, I doubt he would have turned Pelini down). With two running backs in the 2015 class, the Gophers are likely done recruiting scholarship players at the position. Don't expect a position change either, since the staff thought enough of Johannesson as a runner to offer immediately after watching him live.