Emmett Johnson, a 6-foot, 186-pound senior running back from Richfield (MN) Academy of Holy Angels, is the top rusher in the state and is considered one of the state’s top players in the Class of 2022.
Johnson had 37 carries for 240 yards and four touchdowns in a 27-21 win over Hill Murray in the season opener last week.
Johnson rushed 174 times for 11521 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.
GopherHole caught up with Johnson Monday to learn more about his recruitment and senior season.
GopherHole: You are off to a great start already. How pleased are you with how well you played against Hill Murray in the opener?
Emmett Johnson: It’s been good. Our team had a lot of returning players this year and Hill Murray was a great team for our first game. I feel like I just came out and did what I did and I worked hard this summer for it, so I feel like I am happy with the way I performed my first game.
GopherHole: How many offers are you up to, nine?
Emmett Johnson: Yes, I have nine. UNI, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, South Dakota, SDSU, Western Kentucky, Montana State and St. Thomas. (Johnson picked up an offer from Southern Illinois after this interview)
GopherHole: Any plans to try to go to any campuses and go to some games?
Emmett Johnson: Yeah, there has been a lot of Big Ten schools recruiting me right now. Michigan State has been on me. Iowa. Iowa State, Schools like that. Next week, I’ll be at Iowa State for their Iowa-Iowa State rivalry game, so I’ll be going to visit campuses and after the season, I’ll go on some visits and see what’s the best fit for me, but I’m just going to see this season plays out first.
GopherHole: Are you hearing much from the home state school?
Emmett Johnson: Yeah. The Gophers have been recruiting me for a while now. They haven’t offered me yet and I went to their camp. They are still recruiting me, but I’m just open to all schools right now. Wishing for the best.
GopherHole: You have some good offers, but you would obviously love to get a Power Five offer. What would it mean to get an offer from one of the bigger schools?
Emmett Johnson: It would mean a lot. Coming from Minnesota, I feel like they don’t really look at us as a football state and I feel that getting the bigger offers would put Minnesota out there as well as myself. I feel like I worked hard enough to be able to get that offer and I feel like the work that I put in this summer will show this season and I feel that they will wake up and see who I really am as a player.
GopherHole: What things did you really work on this offseason to get ready for a big senior season?
Emmett Johnson: Yes. I would say that I put on ten pounds in the weight room and I’m constantly working on my speed and my cuts. Everything. I wouldn’t just that I worked on one thing this summer, but those are the things I focused on is my strength and speed. My breakaway speed. Last year, I did track, my junior year, just to get faster and get my speed better for this season.
GopherHole: What do you see as your strengths as a running back?
Emmett Johnson: I would say my ability to just be able to cut. My playmaking ability and also being able to break tackles now and my speed, also. Reading everything better has been getting way better than last year.
GopherHole: To be honest, you have some good offers, but you look at your numbers and you would think that you should maybe have some bigger offers? Does that make you work harder and give you a little chip on your shoulder to prove to these other people that you can play at a higher level?
Emmett Johnson: Yeah, for sure. For me, really I’ve been underrecruited for a long time now, so I definitely have a chip on my shoulder, but I feel like the work I put in this summer is just going to show this year and everybody is going to see who Emmett Johnson is.
GopherHole: When you finally decide on a school, what are going to be the main factors that are going to make you pick School A over School B or C?
Emmett Johnson: Just the relationship with the coaches. Somewhere I see myself academic-wise fitting in and somewhere I’ll go and have a chance to play and make an instant impact right away.
GopherHole: You are still playing basketball. Was there any thought about not playing this season or do you think basketball helps you in terms of explosiveness, leaping ability and staying in shape? Do you think that helps you enough that you decided to continue with it?
Emmett Johnson: Basketball is something that I’ve always loved, too. I always felt that I could play basketball at the next level, but now that I have more football schools looking at me, that’s why I was talking to more football schools, but I am still going to play because we have a great team coming back this year and I think we can really have a chance to win a state championship for basketball.
GopherHole: Do you think that helps you playing all three sports with track, basketball and football, that you don’t get burned out on just being a one-sport athlete?
Emmett Johnson: I really see my vision on the court helps me with football. Football for my speed and everything just transitions with one another and they all fit together in the same way.
GopherHole: What are the expectations for Holy Angels the rest of the way?
Emmett Johnson: Expect us to win every game. Expect me to go all out every game and just do what I do and go undefeated and win a state championship. That is my goal this year.
GopherHole: You play at one of the nicer facilities with a nice turf field. Do you think that helps you?
Emmett Johnson: I mean that helps, for sure, but you know me, I’ll play anywhere. I’ll play on grass fields, anywhere, but the field is definitely nice and Holy Angels is a great school, so I am glad that I am surrounded by these good people and academic-wise, it is tougher than a lot of other schools, so I’m glad I’m here.