Texas Tech football: Best JUCO tranfers in program history

LUBBOCK, TX - OCTOBER 31: Dakota Allen
LUBBOCK, TX - OCTOBER 31: Dakota Allen /
10 of 11
(Photo by G. N. Lowrance/Getty Images)
(Photo by G. N. Lowrance/Getty Images) /

No. 2: Inside receiver Robert Johnson 2005-06

The next player on the list proved to be one of the better slot receivers to ever play for the Red Raiders and he turned in one of the most iconic plays in program history.  From 2005-06, Robert Johnson put up 1,822 yards and 15 touchdowns but he will forever be remembered for his game-winning touchdown reception against Texas A&M in 2006.

With Tech trailing 27-24 with only 25 seconds to play at Kyle Field, Johnson hauled in a 37-yard touchdown pass from Graham Harrell to give Tech the win.  It was Johnson’s third touchdown in a game that saw him catch only four passes for 69 yards.

Johnson’s journey from the JUCO ranks to being one of the top slot receivers in college football was interesting.  In 2004, he signed with the Red Raiders out of Reedley College in California as the No. 1 JUCO quarterback in the nation and a 5-star recruit.

Having lost the starting QB job in 2004 to Sonny Cumbie, Johson nearly left the program, unhappy with Mike Leach’s decision to move him to receiver.  It likely did not help that the fan base was clambering for the dual-threat QB to get the job in a situation similar to shat we saw with the fan base’s infatuation with Jett Duffey in 2018.

Fortunately for Johnson and Texas Tech, he decided to make the switch and the results were fantastic.  In his first game as a receiver in 2005, he had 9 receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown against Florida International.  The next week, he went off for a career-best 209 yards on 8 catches against Texas State.

That year, he had at least five receptions in all but four games as he helped the Red Raiders earn a trip to the 2006 Cotton Bowl. In his first game of the 2006 season, he set a school record with 15 receptions against SMU, a mark that is still second all-time in Tech history after Eric Ward’s 16 receptions against Baylor in 2011.

Ultimately, Robert Johnson was able to make a successful transition from star JUCO QB to star inside receiver in the Big 12, showing just how tremendous of an athlete he was.  And the dagger he stuck in the hearts of Texas A&M fans in 2006 will forever be his defining moment as a Red Raider.