One-on-one with Iowa wide receiver Keagan Johnson

Daily Iowan Sports Editor Austin Hanson chatted with Johnson at an Iowa football media availability session on Nov. 2.


Grace Smith

Iowa wide receiver Keagan Johnson runs the ball during a football game between No. 19 Iowa and Northwestern at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois, on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. The Hawkeyes defeated the Wildcats 17-12.

Austin Hanson, Sports Editor

The Daily Iowan: So, is there a story behind the bee earrings you wear?

Keagan Johnson: I don’t really have a crazy story about that. I went to the mall with my mom back home. We were shopping at one of her stores. I saw the earrings, and I was like, “Maybe I’ll be different.” I see everyone with the normal diamond studs. Let’s go with something different.

DI: Is there a story behind your chain?

Johnson: No, same deal. Just be different.

DI: I’ll preface this question with this: I run a 7.37-second 40-yard dash.

Johnson: Alright, 7.37.

DI: Do you think I’d have any chance to guard you one-on-one?

Johnson: I would say no. But there’s like the story of the turtle and the hare. Maybe if I got overly confident, you would have a chance. 7.37 is tough, though. I’d give you a chance if it was a five-second, but I’d say no.

DI: What’s your 40-yard dash time?

Johnson: Honestly, I haven’t ran a 40 recently. I would like to think it’s pretty good. But yeah, I couldn’t give you a number right now.

DI: Better than 7.37, right?

Johnson: Hopefully faster than 7.37.

DI: Obviously, you’re a freshman. Do you eat at the dining halls here at the University of Iowa at all?

Johnson: We stay in Petersen Hall. So, I try to go over to Hillcrest Hall as much as I can. Me and [wide receiver] Arland Bruce will go over there together and eat sometimes. Definitely get the ice cream. That’s kinda the go-to.

DI: Yeah, hit that cooler and put a bunch in a bag and leave.

Johnson: Yeah, definitely. Because we got the mini fridge in the dorm room. They stock the cooler. I mean, it’s free. So, you might as well.

DI: Have you had a welcome to Iowa football moment yet this year?

Johnson: Not during the season. I probably did in camp though. What do you mean by, “Welcome to Iowa football?” Like welcome to football at this level?

DI: Yeah, a moment where you were just like, “Wow, I’m here. This is crazy.”

Johnson: OK, if you’re talking about that, then the Indiana game was definitely my welcome to Iowa football moment. That atmosphere was just crazy. When you see that many people that are here to watch you play, it’s kinda crazy how electrifying it is. That was definitely my welcome to Iowa football. But my welcome to football at Iowa moment definitely came in camp. The linebackers on this team are a different breed. Sometimes, you get a good shot.

DI: Is there one guy that’s hit you that’s made you be like, “Man, I don’t want to go through that again?”

Johnson: Yeah, [linebacker] Seth Benson. No, I take that back, [cash] Dane Belton. I was going in on a crack block, and he got me pretty good. That’s when I realized I was not in high school anymore. So, from then on, I made sure I’d go in with some intent.

DI: You’ve had some pretty impressive stretches for the goal line this year. Do you do yoga for that? Is that just athleticism you were born with?

Johnson: I don’t know. I feel like that’s just will. That’s just pure will. I’m just trying to score every time I get the ball. I’m just trying to score by any means necessary, really.

DI: So, I’ll wrap up with this question. We’ve been trying to determine the difference between Iowa corn and Nebraska corn all year long. What do you think the difference between the two is?

Johnson: I don’t know. I feel like if I comment on it, I’m gonna say something controversial. I’m trying to play both sides of it. It’s crazy. I grew up in Nebraska, but I’m not gonna say I had a whole lot of corn in Nebraska. I wasn’t a huge corn guy. I’ve had a little bit of corn here. It was sweet. Corn was more salty in Nebraska. I don’t want to miss-educate anyone on that.

DI: Thanks Keagan, I appreciate that.

Johnson: Yeah, no problem.