Tyler Johnson and Antoine Winfield Jr – Gopher teammates to Buccaneers going to the Superbowl
University of Minnesota Gopher products Tyler Johnson and Antoine Winfield Jr. are going to the Superbowl as Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers punching their ticket to Super Bowl LV, we take a look
at some players that helped them along their way. We are looking into second-round rookie,
Antoine Winfield Jr., and fifth-round rookie, Tyler Johnson who both played together at the
University of Minnesota and both have made an immediate impact and should be making plays
in Tampa Bay for years to come.
Antoine Winfield Jr., son of former Buffalo and Minnesota defensive back, has started all
16 games for Tampa Bay this year and was a major piece in the Buccaneers defense. During his
time at the University of Minnesota, Winfield was on the field from day one as a true freshman.
A s a true freshman in 2016, Winfield Jr. played in 12 games and started in 9 of them. During the
season, he had 52 tackles, one interception, and one fumble recovered for a touchdown . He
played in the first four games in 2017 before suffering a hamstring injury that forced him out of
the rest of the season. The following year Winfield Jr. played in only four games again after
suffering a torn Lisfranc ligament in his left foot, recording 17 tackles and an interception. He
returned from the injuries in 2019 and was named a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. He
was later named a first-team all-American and Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year during the
2019 season. Winfield Jr. announced that he would forgo his final two years of eligibility and
declare for the 2020 NFL Draft where he would go 45th overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Winfield made his regular-season debut in Week 1, recording six tackles and a pass
deflection. In a Week 2 win against the Carolina Panthers, Winfield recorded 11 total tackles and
his first career sack, which resulted in a forced fumble. Winfield was then named the NFL
Defensive Rookie of the Month for his performance throughout the month of September. In a
Week 7 win against the Las Vegas Raiders, Winfield recorded two tackles, a pass deflection, and
his first career interception. In Week 14 against the Minnesota Vikings, Winfield led the team
with 12 tackles and had a sack in a 26–14 win.
As for Winfield’s teammate Tyler Johnson, he had himself a very productive college
career and wound up being drafted in the 5th round. As a true freshman in 2016, he played in all
13 games with one start and had 14 receptions for 141 yards and one touchdown . The following
year Johnson started the first ten games of the season before suffering an injury that forced him
to miss the team’s final two games. He finished the season with 35 catches for 677 yards and
seven touchdowns. In his junior year, Johnson had a breakout campaign recording 78 receptions
and broke a couple of school records with 1,169 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was voted
First-Team All-Big Ten by the media and voted to the Second-Team by the coaches. Johnson
elected to return to campus for his senior season and had himself another spectacular season
recording 86 catches for 1,318 yards and 13 touchdowns, all of those led the Big Ten and broke
single-season school records. He went out on a great note vs Auburn in the outback bowl with a
12 catch, 204-yard performance while adding two receiving touchdowns. Johnson left Minnesota
second all-time in receptions, with 213, and the all-time leader in both receiving yards, with
3,305, and receiving touchdowns, with 33.
Johnson then committed to the 2020 NFL Draft where he was selected with the 161st
pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It took a couple of weeks for Johnson to make a sizable
impact but did so In Week 5 when he recorded his first four career receptions for 61 receiving
yards in a loss to the Chicago Bears . In Week 6 against the Green Bay Packers , he scored his
first professional receiving touchdown. While he is hidden on the depth chart behind stars Mike
Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown, he has shown flashes of brilliance and will be an
exciting player to follow as he heads into his second year.
Do you think this Gopher duo can be the factor in bringing a Superbowl to Tampa Bay. Rank below the top 10 NFL teams this season to be added in the Power Rankings and to have a chance to win a gift card to Amazon or fanatics.com. Contest Ending January 31st.
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