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Minnesota Football Recruiting: Tyler Johnson Commits

Jerry Kill continues to build upon his "Empire Class," landing the 10th local prospect from a historically deep in-state crop.

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

More local prospects joining the Empire Class? You don't say...

More important: the continued lock-down of local recruits.

Minneapolis (MN) North HS athlete Tyler Johnson announced his Golden decision via Twitter this afternoon, becoming the 18th prospect for the class of 2016 and the 10th in-state recruit to join the "Empire Class." Listed as an athlete, Johnson is a 3 star prospect according the the 247 Industry Composite, selecting Minnesota over reported offers from Wisconsin, Iowa, and Iowa State. An accomplished basketball player, Tyler wrestled with the choice between hoops and football at the next level, though ultimately went with his childhood dream of playing football for the Golden Gophers.

Minnesota has the 30th ranked class, according to the 247Sports Industry Composite, good for 7th in the Big Ten.


Johnson on his decision, via GopherDigest's Ryan Burns ($):

"Growing up in Minneapolis, Minnesota was a dream school for me," Johnson said to "I always went to all of their camps as a kid and it just was the place for me. I felt very comfortable there and when I was talking with my parents over the weekend and I told them that Minnesota was where my heart was and that's where I wanted to go."

Film room study from Gopher247's Will Henry($):

"Don't expect to see Johnson on the field early in his Gopher career, but Tyler posses length, toughness, and ballskills to be a difference maker as an upperclassmen."

ESPNU evaluation($):

Johnson is gifted with positive physical qualities. He is tall and also possesses some bulk to him. Plays with noticeable strength as he runs hard and can easily break some tackles. Speed is more defined as positive lateral movement. ... Johnson is an impressive athlete that plays QB as a high school player but will most likely be recruited as a position change candidate. His size and foot movement suggest the power 5 schools will project him as a defender.

(Likely Fraudulent) Measurables**

** The section title is a bit. It's an 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: 6'2"
Weight: 179-190 lbs.
Fake 40 Time: 4.61s

Big 4 Ratings:

Site Stars Rating Position Rank
247 Composite 3 .8418 68
247 3 80 122
Rivals 3 5.7 33
Scout 3 N/A 61
ESPN 3 75 73


Mid-Senior year highlights:

Junior year via HUDL:


Absurd Comparisons

Considering Johnson could play on either side of the ball, we've got a whole universe of absurdity to chose from. On offense, Tyler fits the mold of a Da'Jon McKnight-esque receiver: tall, great hands, and can high point balls in traffic but not a burner. On defense, Johnson projects as a box defender with good instincts and big play ability at strong safety -- think Damarius Travis.

Scheme Fit

This all depends on where the coaches and Johnson feel he fits the best. If he stays on offense and moves over to receiver (which is the current plan), he'll need to work on his functional strength, route skills, and overall speed. Once he develops, which admittedly may take a while, he provides the offense with yet another tall, athletic weapon who can simply go up and snatch footballs away from defenders.

His best long term position may be strong safety, since he has the ideal combination of length, quickness, and big play ability to become a between the tackles enforcer and center fielder for Jay Sawvel and Tracy Claeys. He displays an aggressive nature at the SS spot, along with ideal size for the position moving forward. Again, he'll need to add more functional strength and speed, but that will come with a regimented program under Coach Klein.

Bottom line: the Gophers are getting a very talented, athletic but raw prospect. More important: the continued lock-down of local recruits.

Impact on Other Prospects?

If he sticks at receiver, they're likely done at that spot. Safety may be a bit of different story, though the staff seems more focused on cornerbacks than safeties at this point. I do suspect the staff will take another 2-3 DBs regardless of position, then figure it out once everyone gets on campus.