How Will the Golden Gophers Rebound From Their Record Year?

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 30: The Minnesota Golden Gophers run onto the field before the game against the New Mexico State Aggies on August 30, 2018 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers started their season 9-0 for the first time since 1904. They capped it off finishing 10-2 and making it to the Outback Bowl. Minnesota finished the season ranked #18 on the CFP rankings. They went on to beat #12 ranked Auburn in the Outback Bowl 31-24. This win propelled Minnesota up the rankings and officially finished #8 overall in the CFP rankings. The College Board ranked Minnesota in the Top 25 for the first time since 2003.

Under 3rd-year coach PJ Fleck, there was not much hope for this Minnesota team. Young stars such as Antoine Winfield Jr, Tanner Morgan, Tyler Johnson, and Rashod Bateman were able to have success and make a name for themselves. 

Loss of Key Players

With some star players gone, how will they bounce back? The Golden Gophers have had key players depart to the NFL such as:

  • Antoine Winfield Jr (Buccaneers)
  • Tyler Johnson (Buccaneers)
  • Kamal Martin (Packers)
  • Carter Coughlin (Giants)
  • Chris Williamson (Giants)
  • Rodney Smith (Panthers)
  • Sam Renner (Rams) 

Luckily, they still have some players who contributed to their success last year. This list includes Tanner Morgan (QB), Rashod Bateman (WR), Mohamed Ibrahim (RB), Chris Autman-Bell (WR), Jordan Howden (DB), and Benjamin St-Juste (DB).  

However, Minnesota was able to get some highly recruited recruits during the offseason. Players such as:

Daniel Jackson, an explosive, and speedy WideOut is a 4-star recruit out of Mission, KS. He chose Minnesota over other Power 5 schools such as Iowa, Kansas, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin. Itayvion Brown, known for his versatility, height, and elusiveness at the OLB position is a 4-star recruit out of Saint Louis, MO. Jah Joyner, who is known for his quick first step, and power at the DE position, is a 3-star recruit out of Danbury, CT. He was also the #1 prospect out of Connecticut in 2019-2020. 

Sources are projecting the Golden Gophers to have a Top 25 caliber season next year, but all fans can do is hold their breath. All fans know is that they can expect a lot of targets, and touchdowns to and from Rashod Bateman. Also a lot of rushing yards, and touchdowns from Mohamed Ibrahim, and a lot of passing touchdowns and yards from Tanner Morgan. Fans are looking forward to next year’s NCAA College Football season, and they can’t wait to see how the Golden Gophers rebound from a record year.