Johnson and Coughlin named to Maxwell, Bednarik Watch Lists
Minnesota natives Tyler Johnson and Carter Coughlin were named to preseason watch lists today in advance of the 2019 season.
Johnson was named to the Maxwell Award Watch List, which has been presented to America's College Player of the Year since 1937. The list is comprised of 80 individuals, but features only 12 receivers and one of those is Johnson. He is one of only three Big Ten receivers to be recognized and is only one of four senior receivers on the list.
Coughlin was named to the Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List, which has been presented annually to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995. Coughlin is one of 23 defensive ends on the 80-player list and is one of six Big Ten ends listed.
Johnson, who was named First Team All-Big Ten (first Gopher receiver to receiver that honor since 2009), is back in Dinkytown for his senior season. Johnson put the Big Ten on notice last year when he made 78 catches (second most in a season) for 1,169 yards (single-season school record) and 12 touchdowns (single-season school record). He had six 100-yard games, which tied for first in school history in a season and became the first Gopher ever to have four straight 100-yard games in Big Ten play.
Jonson's legacy as one of the best to ever wear the Maroon and Gold is already established, but he has a chance to leave as the school's most productive receiver ever. Johnson enters 2019 ranked all-time in career receiving yards with 1,987. Decker is the school record holder with 3,119 career yards and is the only Gopher ever to eclipse 3,000 yards. Johnson will need 1,133 yards next season to break Decker's record and will need 1,013 yards to join him in Club 3,000. Johnson ranks tenth in school history with 127 catches and again will be chasing Decker who is the program standard with 227 career receptions. Decker's 84 catches in 2008 is the school record, so Johnson will need a monster season – 100 catches – to tie Decker's record. Johnson ranks fourth in school history with 20 receiving touchdowns. Ron Johnson (no relation) is first with 31 and is followed by Ernie Wheelwright (26) and Decker (24). If Johnson were to duplicate his 2018 season (78 catches, 1,169 yards and 12 touchdowns) in 2019, he would leave Minnesota as the program holder in receiving yards (3,156) and touchdowns (32) and would rank second all-time in catches (205).
Johnson will also enter 2019 having caught a pass in 23 straight games, which is tied for eighth in school history. Ron Johnson's record of 46 straight games is not reachable, but Johnson could finish second all-time (Decker and Tutu Atwell hold down second place with a catch in 34 straight games). Johnson has played in 36 career games (he missed the final two games of the 2017 season with an injury) and has nine 100-yard career games on his resume. The school record is 11 and is held by Decker and Atwell.
Coughlin, who is from Eden Prairie, Minn., was named Second Team All-Big Ten in 2018 after starting all 13 games and making 48 tackles (34 solo), 9.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss. He also forced four fumbles and received the team's Trench Award and was named the team's Carl Eller Outstanding Defensive Player.
Coughlin, who is also an Academic All-Big Ten performer, has made 110 career tackles in 36 games and 30.5 of them (27.7%) have been a tackle for loss and 18.0 of them (16.3%) have been a sack. Coughlin ranks ninth in career tackles for loss with 30.5 (Willie VanDeSteeg is first with 43.5) and fifth in career sacks with 18.0 (Karon Riley is first with 29.0).
If Coughlin were to duplicate his 2018 season (15.0 TFLs and 9.5 sacks) in 2019 he would end his career first in tackles for loss with 45.5 and second in sacks with 27.5.