A highly pursued recruit in 2015, LSU WR Tyron Johnson announced recently that he will be transferring out of the Tigers’ program. According to this report by Ross Dellenger of The Advocate, Johnson is leaving LSU to look for a program with a “more open offense”.
Johnson’s concerns about LSU’s offense are valid. They’re a run-based team with the best RB in America in Leonard Fournette. And, when they throw the ball, they usually have 2 top options who have the VAST majority of catches, with virtual scraps for the other receivers. Over the course of the last 8 years, the top 2 receivers (by catches) have caught 738 of 1449 completions. That’s 50.9% of all available catches by the top 2 guys. LSU has had at least 13 players catch passes in those seasons, so you have at least 11 other guys fighting for less than half the total number of catches in a given year. That’s a lot of competition.
For Johnson, the problem isn’t that LSU throws the ball infrequently and inefficiently; that’s been their M.O. on offense for years. It’s that he wasn’t one of the top 2 guys, and had reportedly been passed by several newcomers on the depth chart. Looking at few passes probably heading his way, Johnson has elected to transfer.
As a HS recruit in 2015, Johnson was as highly coveted as anybody. He was a consensus 5-star player, and a top 30 overall recruit in his class. Johnson was an UnderArmour All-American, participating in that elite event in January 2015. He chose LSU from a list of 25 offers from many top P5 programs.
James D. Smith of NOLA.com posted this article naming 5 schools he thinks would be a good fit for Johnson. Miami is among this group. Smith cites the fact that Mark Richt recruited Johnson to Georgia in 2015, and the fact that the Canes are still looking to add talented WRs to the roster as positives for Miami.
Johnson is undoubtedly going to be very highly sought after as a transfer. LSU has granted him a release, but not to play at any other SEC institution. He could, of course, go to a Junior College for a year then transfer to the SEC school of his choosing, should he so desire.
Johnson’s named finalists before his commitment to LSU back in 2015 were Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. Both are schools with open offenses that Johnson could look back to as a transfer.
Regarding Miami’s connection to Johnson now, Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post reported that Miami had not received permission to contact Johnson.
Source told me as of now UM hasn't received a release/permission to contact Johnson, but Canes are in need of WR depth & could have interest— Matt Porter (@mattyports) August 12, 2016
That could obviously change, and Miami would need to move quickly once it does to get into the race to bring Johnson in as a transfer, should they be seriously interested. According to the report by The Advocate, Johnson has said he wants to make a decision “within the next week”, so things are definitely going to move fast here.
Though he was unable to showcase them it at LSU, Johnson has great talent. He’s 6’1” 190lbs and runs in the 4.5’s. He was a dominant in high school, amassing 87 catches for 1433 yards and 17 TDs as a junior, and 94 catches for 1589 yards and 17 TDs as a senior. So yeah, he can play, even if his freshman year and sophomore spring at LSU weren’t the greatest indicators of his talent.
I, for one, hope Miami is granted permission to contact Johnson. While he wouldn’t be a factor for the Canes in 2016, he would add talent and depth that is much needed moving forward. He could be this year’s Gerald Willis for Miami.
You can see Johnson’s highlights below.
More as its available.