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100 Days of Summer: Get to Know No. 13 Tyron Johnson



With just 13 days until the season opener against Tulsa, it’s time to look at maybe the most hyped OSU receiver since Dez. Will he live up to it?

How he got to OSU

Tyron Johnson was the No. 2-rated wide receiver in the class of 2015 according to Rivals and a consensus five-star recruit. Oklahoma State was one of his top schools but he ultimately decided to stay close to home and enrolled at LSU.

After appearing in nine games as a true freshman — but making just nine total catches — Johnson decided to look for a new home where his talents could be better utilized. He talked to Kyle Porter recently about what made Oklahoma State his obvious choice.

“I can’t catch enough balls in this offense,” said Johnson. “We throw the ball around all day in practice. Routes on air. Routes against defense. All day we’re catching the ball.

“It’s a great transition for me and a great switch for me. More balls get thrown around and more opportunities.”

To his point, Johnson left an LSU offense that threw the ball 277 times for 2,158 yards and 13 TDs his freshman year for an Oklahoma State offense that threw it 517 times for 4,591 yards and 35 scores that same year. LSU ranked 101st in passing offense at 190.1 yards per game while Oklahoma State ranked 9th at 323.9 yards per game.

What he’s done in Stillwater

Mostly? Wait. Well, wait and absolutely destroy people as part of OSU’s scout team. Johnson transferred to OSU during the 2016 preseason but due NCAA rules was forced to sit out last year. Since he played as a true freshman in Baton Rouge, 2016 was essentially a redshirt year, leaving Mike Gundy possibly set for No. 1 receiver for the next three years.

But throw out all the hyperbole. Toss the Odell-Beckham-Jerry-Rice reincarnation theories. The Dez Bryant comparisons, the recruiting stars. What has Johnson actually done? What makes us so sure he’s not just the third-best or fourth-best receiver on OSU’s roster? That still probably makes him No. 1 on half the teams in the Big 12.

In a limited sample size — and in an offense that didn’t exactly fit his strengths — Johnson showed glimpses of his playmaking ability in 2015. Of his nine catches, six of which went for at least 10 yards. He also showed the ability to win the one-on-one battles.

And to make defenders miss. Imagine Porter is the field umpire and the two are in a phone booth.

Role in 2017

Trying to limit any one of four or five of OSU’s receivers to a specific role would prove futile at this point — and probably at any point this season. This a collective — full of star power and athleticism and whose biggest strength is its ability to keep defenses guessing and in turn defensive coordinators up at night.

James Washington may go off for five catches and 105 yards and Jalen McCleskey will grab eight for 78. One game Tyron Johnson will go four for 100, the next he may go two for 15. You may have four or five receivers lead the team in receiving yards on a Saturday-to-Saturday basis.

And Johnson sees the crowded wideout group as a blessing, not a curse.

“That’s something any receiver looks for,” Johnson said. “One-on-one coverage, I mean, you gotta make a play. We’ve got a lot of great receivers. I don’t if you’ll be able to double any. We got Chris Lacy, Marcell Ateman, Stoner. We got Jalen McCleskey. We’ve got James Washington. I mean, so many guys, pick your poison.

“You wanna double him or you wanna double him? Somebody’s going to be one-on-one.”

Noteworthy stats and highlights

You want more film of Tyron, don’t you? Okay, here you go.

In rare back-to-back passing plays by LSU, Johnson got to show off his speed. Note: SEC people apparently don’t love offense or celebrations. Down 18 in the first half? That’s how OSU has won most of its games over the past three years.

And here’s a look at his ball skills.


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