Photo Credit: Greg Smith

Nebraska Recruiting: Emmett Johnson in Running for National High School Player of Year

July 03, 2022

Recruiting never stops and it’s easy to miss the top stories day-to-day. Hail Varsity recaps all things Nebraska recruiting news, analysis and more so you never miss a thing.

Running back Emmett Johnson arrived at Nebraska this summer as the top high school player in Minnesota. He was named Mr. Football by the Minnesota Football Coaches Association in 2021 following an excellent senior season as a two-way player for the Academy of Holy Angels.

Now, Johnson has the opportunity to be named SBLive’s national high school football players of the year in 2021-22.

Johnson is one of 20 players nationally named to the poll by SBLive. Fans and supporters have until Thursday, July 7, at 11:59 p.m. to support Johnson.

As for his stats, Johnson impresses. He played in 11 games in 2021, racking up 2,484 rushing yards and 41 rushing touchdowns on 326 attempts. He averaged 22.58 rushing yards per game, and 7.6 rushing yards per attempt. He didn’t fumble once. Johnson also played on special teams, returning kicks in 2021 for 264 yards and a touchdown.

By the time Johnson graduated, he had nearly 5,000 rushing yards and nearly 6,000 all-purpose yards. He also played on defense for Holy Angels, tallying 130 tackles. All of those stats means it’s not much of a surprise that Johnson racked up the honors by the time his prep career was finished. He was named District MVP twice, and was a three-time all-district selection, two-time all-metro pick and an all-state honoree. Johnson was also named the Offensive MVP for the South team in the Minnesota High School All-Star Game in 2021.

Johnson—who visited Nebraska for the spring game as a signee—wasn’t content with the work he’d put in already. He told Hail Varsity following the spring game that seeing the Huskers’ running backs in person was a motivation for him. Seeing his future teammates in action inspired what he hoped to do before arriving in Lincoln.

“I’ll definitely say I’ve just been working on getting stronger and faster,” Johnson said at the time. “I just want to elevate my game to the point where I have no weakness. That’s my main goal, is coming in with no weakness. Working on my cutting ability, working on staying low. Just getting my footwork right and focusing on studying the playbook and pass blocking.”

We’ll get to see Johnson (6-0, 185) in action soon, as the Huskers are prepared to kick off fall camp in a few weeks. Until then, you can check out his senior season Hudl highlights to get a glimpse at what Nebraska has in its running backs room this fall.

The Huskers also had sophomore running back Rahmir Johnson break down a little of Emmett’s film following signing day last December. It’s worth the watch (or re-watch) as we wait for fall camp.

It’s been awhile since Nebraska has had the production from a running back that it wants. The Huskers are hoping to see that change in 2022 with Bryan Applewhite now at the helm of the running backs room. Will Emmett be a big part of that? It’s always hit or miss if high school stats translate to the collegiate level, but Nebraska would certainly love Emmett—or any of the backs in its room—to make the jump.

Also, the recruiting notebook will take a vacation for the holiday on Monday, July 4. It will return to its usual schedule on Tuesday, July 5.

Recruit Watch

>> Joshua Manning, a 4-star wide receiver from Missouri and Husker target, has pushed his commitment decision back. He was originally scheduled to make an announcement on Sunday. As of now, 247Sports has him projected to pick Kansas State. That said, those predictions were made before the change in commitment plans. We’ll see what that ultimately means.

>> Nebraska running back target Dontavius Braswell committed to South Carolina on Saturday. He originally has Alabama, Oregon, Boston College and Nebraska in his final four, so the decision came as a bit of a surprise. With that said, his recruitment had been difficult to track so it’s not entirely shocking he went with the unexpected.

>> Enjoy this clip.

That’s 2025 Omaha North quarterback Sebastian Circo throwing to Huskers wide receiver target Omarion Miller.


>> Add Georgia wide receiver Barry Jackson Jr. to Nebraska’s 2023 class. He made his commitment announcement on Saturday.

>> After spending part of his first spring at Nebraska limited by an injury, corner Omar Brown is ready for the season ahead and to push himself and the Huskers’ defensive backs to be better.

>> Fred Hoiberg added three new walk-ons to his roster, and each of them will look to carve out a role and find ways to contribute this season in Lincoln.

>> July 1 marked the one-year anniversary of the name, image and likeness era in collegiate athletics, and what a year it’s been. We took a look back.

>> The brand new Huskers collection from Homefield has arrived. Here’s a buying guide from a guy who perhaps cares too much about logos.

>> Not sure how you’d have missed this, but UCLA and USC are set to join the Big Ten in 2024.

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