Less than two years later, that no longer is the case.
After redshirting this last season and expecting to be a contributor next season, Uthoff is seeking his release and looking to transfer.
One UW source called the news ‘a shock.' Johnson's reactions were equally similar.
"This news today caught me totally off guard," Johnson told Badger Nation. "I know he was pumped when he made his commitment there and he was happy to be a Badger. He was happy to be a part of the program. He just wanted to get stronger, learn the system and make an impact as a redshirt freshman.
"I just saw Coach Gary Close at a recent game and he was gushing about how much work Jarrod had put in this year and how excited they were to see him on the floor next year. I honestly never saw this coming."
Uthoff was the highlight of a four-person 2011 signing class that was ranked fourth in the Big Ten. Named first-team all-state and Mississippi Valley Conference Player of the Year, Uthoff averaged 26.2 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game as a senior at Thomas Jefferson HS. In a brief conversation with Johnson Thursday night, Uthoff said he still loved the city and the program, but neither was perfect for him.
"I don't know if it's a home sick thing but he said he thought it would be a good fit, but now thinks he would fit in better elsewhere," Johnson said. "I guess you have to take that for what it's worth."
Johnson didn't know where Uthoff was planning to do next because his former player told him he simply didn't have a plan of what to do next.
"It's still a little unclear," Johnson said. "From what I can gather, maybe it isn't a full release. There might be a lot of conditions on that and he's appealing that. I think he's a little guarded of what to talk about and what not to talk about. He's surprised word has gotten out.
"He's not sure where all his options would be, so that makes me think there are conditions on what kind of release he's got."
The decision means the Badgers currently have 11 of their 13 scholarships accounted for.
Attempts to contact Uthoff were unsuccessful. He will be required to sit out next season if he transfers to another NCAA Division I program, after which he would then have three seasons of eligibility remaining.