Iowa Football

Iowa football lands Nebraska wide receiver Keagan Johnson

Johnson's dad was a Husker, so this one left a few ripples

Iowa picked up a commitment Wednesday from Nebraska wide receiver Keagan Johnson. Iowa now has 15 commitments for the 20
Iowa picked up a commitment Wednesday from Nebraska wide receiver Keagan Johnson. Iowa now has 15 commitments for the 2021 recruiting class. Johnson picked Iowa over Nebraska.

For Keagan Johnson and his family, the decision to play football at the University of Iowa was theirs. A personal decision that set a course for a fairly massive three or four or five years.

When that decision goes out into the world, it belongs less to the Johnsons and more to the rest of the college football universe.

People are going to have opinions when a wide receiver from Bellevue, Neb., whose father, Clester, won two national titles playing wingback for legendary Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne in the 1990s, picks Iowa.

For Johnson, it was finding his own way.

“At the end of the day times have changed. No knock on Nebraska’s program but it’s not the same as when (Clester) played,” Keagan Johnson told the Omaha World-Herald. “He’s always been open-minded, and I am blessed that I can start my own legacy and I don’t have to follow his footsteps. He has always preached that to me.”

For what it’s worth, Clester Johnson is totally good with this.

“I’m here to support YOUR journey to the next level — family and friends support you 100% now let’s go to work!!!” Clester Johnson said in a tweet on Wednesday.

It’s been a good week for Iowa football’s recruiting department. Late last week, the Hawkeyes beat Iowa State for Ankeny wide receiver Brody Brecht and then Johnson announced his commitment Wednesday.

Johnson, 6-1, 188, is the third wide receiver Iowa has in the 2021 class. He joins Arland Bruce IV and Brecht.


“I think we’ll be good competition for each other,” Johnson told “Brody and Arland are really good players and I feel like we’ll complement each other well. I’m excited about it.”

Iowa wide receivers coach Kelton Copeland was key in Johnson’s recruitment. Johnson said the two watched quite a bit of Iowa wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette’s film. Smith-Marsette led the Hawkeyes with 722 receiving yards on 44 receptions with five TDs.

“I talk to him pretty frequently and we watched some of Ihmir Smith-Marsette’s film and compared it to mine,” Johnson told “I see myself kind of doing what Ihmir does for their offense. They find different ways to get him the ball whether it’s reverses or screens or jet sweeps and I feel like those are some of my strengths as well. Also, with my physicality, I think one of my best attributes is running after the catch and breaking tackles.

“But as far as where they seeing me playing, it’s kind of Ihmir’s role I think.”

As a junior, Johnson had 52 catches for 672 yards and eight touchdowns. He also had five carries for 93 yards and two touchdowns to help Bellevue West finish 13-0 and win the Class A state football title.

Johnson is the 15th commitment for Iowa’s 2021 recruiting class. Johnson had eight offers, including Iowa, Nebraska, Iowa State, Kansas State, Wyoming and North Dakota State.

Just so you know, none of this officially counts yet. The national signing period begins Dec. 16. Rivals has the Hawkeyes’ current class ranked sixth in the nation and second in the Big Ten.

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