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The Gophers football program on Tuesday received its second verbal commitment to its 2026 recruiting class when Forest Lake standout defensive lineman Howie Johnson announced on X that he has chosen Minnesota.

Johnson, 6-3 and 255 pounds, is a three-star recruit who's rated by 247Sports as the No. 2 player in Minnesota and the No. 34 defensive tackle nationally in the 2026 class. Johnson attended a Gophers camp on Monday and was offered a scholarship, with Minnesota being the first program to extend an offer.

As a sophomore in 2023, Johnson had 80 tackles, including 28 tackles for loss and seven sacks in 10 games. He also forced one fumble and blocked one kick. Johnson also is a track and field athlete, and he placed third in the shot put at 56 feet, 9¾ inches and 12th in the discus at 142-5 in the Class 3A state meet.

Johnson's commitment gives the Gophers pledges from the top two players in Minnesota in the 2026 class. Rocori four-star offensive tackle Andrew Trout committed to the Gophers in January.