With the upcoming Christmas break only a few days away programs all over the country are hosting potential transfers that would begin classes second semester. UND is no different. Except this one in particular not your typical transfer.
Minnesota Gopher RB James Johannesson met with the UND coaching staff down in Minneapolis this past weekend and informed them of his decision to transfer to UND. Johannesson will be a sophomore for the 2017 season.
Per the Grand Forks Herald article, Johannesson, the all-time rushing leader at Fargo South, finished his high school career with 6,158 rushing yards and 81 touchdowns and won the state championship at South in 2013. In track, Johannesson’s best times were 10.88 in the 100 meters, 21.56 in the 200 meters, and 50.60 in the 400 meters.
At Minnesota, Johannesson (6’1-230) was behind sophomores Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks on the running back depth chart, making his decision a bit easier.
The slightly shocking part of the scenario is that Johannesson chose UND over hometown NDSU. From what we were told, he is going to be a business major in college and that played a part in the decision. UND has a very good business school. Available scholarship money at running back was also a question mark for NDSU. Future scholarship money was discussed from their end. UND had the scholarship available right away, even though they have three underclassmen running backs.
His decision definitely wasn’t because of ease of opportunity for playing time. UND is loaded at running back with All-American John Santiago and All-Big Sky Brady Oliveira both coming back as juniors. Sophomore Austin Gordon showed flashes that he too can play on a consistent basis. We somewhat expect Oscar Nevermann to possibly move to fullback or maybe even linebacker. He has the size (6’1-215) to play both effectively.
We believe Johannesson will play tailback and do great at UND. However, there might some opportunity to get on the field more if he played the fullback spot as well. We aren’t even thinking from a traditional “battering ram” blocking standpoint, but more as a play-making fullback opposite of Santiago, Oliveira and Gordon. Kyle Norberg will be a senior there next season and after him there aren’t many other proven players so far.
Here are some highlights of his nice performance from last April’s spring game.