FORT COLLINS — Unlike a lot of NFL defenses, Mike Bobo saw Bisi Johnson coming a mile away.
“I told Bisi’s mom, ‘This kid’s going to make a team,’” The Colorado State football coach said of the former Rams receiver before his squad hosted Air Force early Saturday evening at Canvas Stadium.
“‘This kid’s going to make a team because he’s extremely smart, he runs good routes and he played on every special teams (unit) when he was here. He’s a dependable guy, and that’s what the guys look for in the NFL. They look for guys that you can count on, guys that are dependable. And if you aren’t that, they’re going to get rid of you.’”
Johnson, a Lakewood native and Bear Creek High School alum, has embodied dependability — especially as a rookie — for the Vikings, who host the Broncos on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium. Over his last four games, the 6-foot wideout, a seventh-round pick this past spring, had caught nine balls for 96 yards and two touchdowns.
“I knew he would have an opportunity to make it,” Bobo continued. “And now to see with a (Vikings) receiver being down … and Bisi has an opportunity to start making plays for a team that’s in the playoff hunt. I know he’s excited and I know what he’s focusing on is trying to help his team.”
Johnson’s last score, on a 4-yard grab against the Chiefs on Nov. 4, was one of 47 receiving touchdowns during Week 9. Of those 47, four — or 8.5 percent — were caught by a former CSU Ram.
As the Rams noted on their official Twitter feed last week, of the 51 touchdown passes recorded by NFL receivers in Weeks 9 and 10, roughly 10 percent were snared by ex-CSU targets.
Johnson went into Week 11 with 18 grabs for 190 yards and wasn’t the only rookie with CSU ties making waves. Former teammate Preston Williams had racked up 32 catches for 428 yards and three scores with the Miami Dolphins before being placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. Ex-Ram Michael Gallup started the weekend with 33 catches for 530 yards with Dallas, while Rashard Higgins had caught four balls with Cleveland.
“Fortunately, when I got here, you had guys like Rashard Higgins who was already in the program,” Bobo said. “And then followed it up with Gallup and Preston and Bisi.
“And now you’ve got (junior) Warren Jackson, who’s stepped up and is, I think, one of the elite receivers in the country. And it’s a credit to him and how (he) works. It’s also a credit to those guys that came before him to show what it means. It gets those guys excited when they see the guys that came from here that played in this offense and now are having success in the NFL. Guys (such as) Warren know that it’s a recipe for him to have success, too.”