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Tyler Johnson, Antoine Winfield Jr., to have a Gophers reunion in Tampa Bay



Tyler Johnson had to wait until the 161st pick in the fifth round of the NFL draft on Saturday before he finally heard his name called. It appears the wait might have been worth it for the former Gophers wide receiver.

Johnson was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, meaning he will get the opportunity to catch passes from a guy named Tom Brady. In addition to playing with a future Hall of Fame quarterback, Johnson also will be teammates with another ex-Gopher, safety Antoine Winfield Jr.

Winfield was taken by the Buccaneers with the 45th pick in the second round on Friday. Three more Gophers also were selected on Saturday as Green Bay took linebacker Kamal Martin with the 175th pick in the fifth round and the Giants took linebacker Carter Coughlin with the 218th pick and cornerback Chris Williamson with the 247th pick in the seventh round.

Johnson, a high school football and basketball star at Minneapolis North, had 86 receptions 1,318 yards and 13 touchdowns last season for the Gophers and finished his four-year career at Minnesota with 3,305 yards and 33 touchdowns. He averaged 15.5 yards per catch.

The Buccaneers got a good look at Johnson last January in the Gophers’ upset victory over Auburn in the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Johnson was named MVP of that game as he caught 12 passes for 204 yards and made an incredible catch in the back of the end zone in a 31-24 victory.

“It’s a very surreal moment,” Johnson told the Tampa Bay Times. “I saw (Winfield) get picked up (Friday), got a chance to call him, talk to him, congratulate him, but we all know that right now it’s back to business. We celebrate, we take these moments in, but the next day on we move forward.”

Martin was limited to eight games last season because of a knee injury. He had to have surgery after the season and missed the Senior Bowl. He also was limited at the NFL Scouting Combine. Martin finished last season with 66 tackles, one sack, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.

Coughlin, who is 6-3, 236 pounds had 29 tackles, 4.5 sacks and two tackles for a loss last season. He also impressed at the combine by posting a 40-yard dash time of 4.57 seconds.

Williamson transferred to Minnesota from Florida and spent two years with the Gophers. Williamson played in all 13 games for the Gophers last season and started nine. He broke up three passes and intercepted another that he returned for a touchdown.

While Rodney Smith was not drafted, SKOR North contributor Darren Wolfson reported that the running back will sign as a free agent with the Carolina Panthers.





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