2018 MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS FOOTBALL PREVIEW

HEAD COACH: PJ Fleck

RECORD AT SCHOOL: 5-7

CAREER RECORD: 35-29

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Kirk Ciarrocca

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: Robb Smith

STADIUM: TFC Bank Stadium (50,805)

 

2018 SCHEDULE

August 30 New Mexico State

September 8 Fresno State

September 15 Miami OH

September 22 at Maryland

October 6 Iowa

October 13 at Ohio State

October 20 at Nebraska

October 26 Indiana

November 3 at Illinois

November 10 Purdue

November 17 Northwestern

November 24 at Wisconsin

 

2017 RESULTS

Buffalo 17-7

Oregon State 48-14

Middle Tennessee 34-3

Maryland 24-31

Purdue 17-31

Michigan State 27-30

Illinois 24-17

Iowa 10-17

Michigan 10-33

Nebraska 54-21

Northwestern 0-39

Wisconsin 0-31

 

2017 OFFENSE STATS

SCORING: 22.1

RUSHING: 182.4

PASSING: 126.1

TOTAL: 308.5

 

2017 DEFENSE STATS

SCORING: 22.8

RUSHING : 172.2

PASSING: 174.5

TOTAL: 346.7

 

FIVE-YEAR WINNING TREND

2013: 8-5

2014: 8-5

2015: 6-7

2016: 9-4

2017: 5-7

 

RETURNING STARTERS OFFENSE: 6

RETURNING STARTERS DEFESNE: 7

 

RETURNING LEADERS

PASSING: None

RUSHING: Rodney Smith, 229-977-3TD

RECEIVING: Tyler Johnson, 35-677-7TD

TACKLES: Thomas Barber, 115

SACKS: Carter Coughlin, 6.5

INTERCEPTIONS: Jacob Huff, 3

 

2018 TOP 10 RECRUITS

Curtis Dunlap, G Jacksonville, FL

Dan Faalele, OT Melbourne, Australia

Rashod Bateman, WR Tifton, GA

Vic Viramontes, QB Riverside, CA

Alex Reigelsperger, DE Dayton, OH

Elijah Teague, DT South Holland, IL

Nolan Edmonds, RB Alpharetta, GA

Jason Dickson, OT Carona, CA

Jornell Manns, WR Mansfield, OH

Terell Smith, CB Snellville, GA

 

OFFENSE PREVIEW

Minnesota’s offense struggled in it’s first season under Head Coach PJ Fleck. The Golden Gophers ranked 12th in the Big 10 in scoring (108th nationally), 13th in passing (122nd) and 12th in total offense (123rd). One area Minnesota was effective in was running the football (184.4 yards per game, 3rd in the Big 10). Perhaps the biggest reason for the poor offensive performance was the lack of consistent quarterback play. The good news for Minnesota is they can now start over in 2018.

Sophomore Vic Viramontes (junior college transfer) and red-shirt freshman Tanner Morgan are the two leading candidates to start at quarterback this fall. Coach Fleck may not have a clear starter until both see action at the FBS level.

The Golden Gophers return running back Rodney Smith, who rushed for 977 yards in 2017. Smith is just 1,260 all-purpose yards away from the school record. Depth is a concern for Minnesota after losing back-up Shannon Brooks to an injury in the off-season. Freshman Nolan Edmonds will now be the primary back-up to Smith.

The offensive line returns three starters and has excellent depth. LT Donnell Greene returns along with LG Conner Olson and RT Sam Schlueter. Minnesota picked up two very big recruits in 6’9” 400 pound OT Dan Faaele and G Curtis Dunlap at 6’5” 370 pounds.

 

DEFENSE PREVIEW

Minnesota’s defense was actually pretty good in 2017. They allowed only 22.8 points per game (36th nationally), 174.5 yards per game through the air (11th).

The defense will have three key veterans returning, junior DE Carter Coughlin, LB Thomas Barber and S Antoine Winfield, Jr. Coughlin led the Gophers in sacks and tackles for loss last season. Barber had 115 tackles and Winfield returns after missing most of last season with an injury.

Minnesota’s run defense needs improvement and will count on Alabama transfer OJ Smith. Smith will be joined up front by DE Esezi Otomewo and DT Gary Moore.

Getting to the quarterback will be a high priority for Minnesota after they hired a pass-rush specialist.

Three starters return in the secondary with Winfield, CB Antonio Shenault and Jacob Huff. Sophomore  Kiondre Thomas is currently penciled in at the other corner.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS PREVIEW

Kicker Emmit Carpenter was the Big 10 Kicker of the Year in 2016. He struggled last season hitting 14-20 FG attempts. Punter Jacob Herbers takes over for Ryan Santoso. The return game will be evaluated this fall.

 

PREDICTION

Minnesota lacked depth and talent to make a move in the Big 10 last season. Coach Fleck’s first season wasn’t what Minnesota’s fans had hoped for, but the future looks bright. Fleck knows how to turn a program around as he did at Western Michigan. Inexperience at QB will be a huge key early. Once they figure out who will be the starter, Minnesota can then focus on getting six wins and a possible bowl game.

 

PROJECTED RECORD: 6-6, 3-6 Big 10

 

COACH PJ FLECK TALKS AT BIG 10 MEDIA DAYS

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by P.J. Fleck.

P.J. FLECK: I wanted to start today with our thoughts and prayers going out to the entire Sparano family. Minnesota is a very tight-knit group. It’s a tight state, especially our athletic teams. Spending one year there, you realize that. And Coach Sparano, as any of you have known him or spent time around him, incredible coach but an incredible person. Minnesota lost a really phenomenal coach. But the one thing I want to make sure that everybody understands is over the course of the last 24 hours I haven’t heard anybody share any stories about a technique or a fundamental or what type of offensive line coach he was. All we continue to hear is what type of person and the impact he made on so many lives.

I know all of us want to win. We want to win championships. We want to win the conference and do all those things. You’re here for all that. But at the end of the day we’re teachers and educators. And the difference we make and all these coaches make on lives is really important. And for those that knew Tony, I’m sure he made a huge impact on you.

I just wanted to thank our president, President Kaler, who’s in his final year. I’m sure you heard that. Director Coyle and his wife Krystan, my wife Heather for being here today and our board of regents, our fans and alumni and boosters. I’m just proud to represent the University of Minnesota in year two as we move forward.

We have a lot of challenges and opportunities coming up with our university and where we are. But, again, I’m sure you have a lot of questions. I think last year Pat Fitzgerald got up here after me and said, OK, now he doesn’t have any time left since I used it all, I think. And I think every one of you counted how many words I said last year.

We have a very youthful, very young, very inexperienced football team which does not necessarily mean we can’t win. We have a very talented football team, just incredibly young. We have nine scholarship players on offense and defense, 14 scholarship players as juniors. I mean nine scholarship seniors on offense and defense, 14 juniors on scholarship offense and defense right around there.

And everybody else is underclassmen. We’re going to rely heavily on our young players to play, make plays. But the one thing about young players is sometimes they don’t know how bad they are, how good they are. You haven’t watched them play, haven’t worked a ton with them. They get in there and really surprise you.

But we’ve talked to our team about how inexperienced and young we’re going to be. Our whole model for the year is race to maturity and maturity we define as when doing what you have to do becomes doing what you want to do.

That’s when people grow up. So we’re going to need our young freshman, our true freshmen, our redshirt freshmen — the new redshirt rule really helps us a lot — we’re going to need those players to grow up really fast. And that’s what this whole offseason has been designed about.

We lost three really close games by a matter of a few points and we just didn’t finish games. And I thought our team last year wanted to win, but we didn’t refuse to lose. We didn’t have that refuse-to-lose mentality. There’s a major difference between those two things. In this whole offseason we focused around having that, for our players to be able to accomplish that here this offseason and springboard into this year.

So very excited about the year. Anticipating the year, highly. Really excited about one of the greatest recruiting classes in the University of Minnesota joining us in 2018 right now. And we’re really excited right now, top 25 class for 2019 that will join us later. But really proud of the players we have within our program who have grown up over the course of the last year and a half.

Q. Wanted to ask you what you learned in your first year at Minnesota and how can you carry those lessons over to year two.
P.J. FLECK: I think the biggest lesson you learn as a coach whenever you take over programs and we haven’t won a championship for so long, whether that was Western Michigan, whether that was the University of Minnesota, I enjoy that. And I enjoy the first few years that are usually pretty rough in different ways. I called them the dirty water years, the muddy waters.

Those are things at times where some people might like that, some people might not. But it goes back to the greatest lesson I learned from Greg Schiano who still continues to be an influence in my life: Never sacrifice what you really want down the road for what you want right now. We’re in a right-now society. We need it now. When are you going to do it now? We haven’t for 51 years as a championship football team. The reason I took the job was to be the bridge and have our staff be the bridge and our culture be the bridge from then until now. But the biggest thing I’ve learned is simply reassuring that.

Every year you want to make sure you reassure yourself of the things you know, that you believe in, and I think we’ve done that. Year one is a lot different than year two, Andy. Year one is all about learning. Everything is new, no matter what. Everything is new. And year two, you start to master that. Not only do you have guys master that, but now they can start teaching players so your players start to lead a lot more than just the coaches.

But last year we were not a player-led football team. Bad teams, nobody leads; average teams, coaches lead; elite teams, players lead. You’ve heard me say that before and we weren’t at that level. We’ve got to build that as we continue to go. That’s why we’re going to rely heavily on those seniors. Not a lot of them, but they have to do a tremendous job of bringing those young guys along.

Q. When I spoke to you year two at Western Michigan you had gone through a tremendous transition, a purge, if you will, of a lot of players to try to get your guys in. As you evaluate this process, kind of building on what you just answered, where are you in that process? What are the steps in that process? How do you define it? And what’s the ultimate goal where you’ll feel like we’ve arrived, this is Minnesota and this is the way I want things?
P.J. FLECK: One thing I’ve learned about Minnesota is they want honesty — exactly where is our program? Just because we’re a young and inexperienced team doesn’t mean we can’t win ahead of schedule. I said the same thing at Western Michigan, I think we started 1-3 and then went on a seven-game winning streak and shocked everybody, including myself. And I think right now I call it year one. I know everybody sits there and says what is he talking about.

Year one, last year, is really year zero the way I look at a program. And I know everybody’s like what do you mean by that? Is that just to get a contract extension? Is that just to delay a process? No, that’s reality. Year zero everybody’s learning and everybody’s getting to know each other. We took over a very tumultuous time to be honest with you and we had a lot of things to have happen. We had players leave, players stay. But it was a transitional time.

When you get to year one, right now, I mean, if you look at our team, I think we’re 128 out of 130 in terms of youth and inexperience. We have two quarterbacks who have never played who are both freshmen. And we have Ty Johnson, yes, but other than that, I think everyone else Ty is going to play with is going to be a redshirt freshman or a true freshman. We have true freshmen, redshirt freshmen offensive linemen. Our defensive backfield will be filled with young, inexperienced players. Our D line, linebackers. When you look at our two deep that’s where we are.

I think there’s a process to that happening. But one thing about young teams, when you’re in year two, you can’t have yourself not be surprised. But you’re kind of surprised by it all as it continues to take shape. There’s not a, hey, by year three this is going to happen, year four this is going to happen. It all takes its own time.

Being young and inexperienced and playing freshmen in the Big Ten, I think it’s a little different than it was in the Mid-American Conference. There’s a size and strength component. You’re playing top 15 teams in the country at times, week in, week out. So there’s a strength component to that when you’re young that maybe you can get away with the league I was in before, but you can’t get away with it in the Big Ten.

We’re in year one, the way I look at it. And we’re here to develop our quarterbacks because it all starts with them and continue to bring this program along by joining the nine teams next year. But obviously our focus right now is of developing academically, athletically, socially and spiritually in everything we do.

Q. You’ve seen the playoff perspective from Western Michigan. You’ve seen it now in the Big Ten Conference. What’s your overall impression of just the effectiveness of it?
P.J. FLECK: I think it’s the best thing to happen in college football. I think it’s brilliant. There’s nothing more exciting than finding out who is going to be in the college football playoff. I think one of the challenges are when you’re starting to schedule and the people are scheduling one of the issues you’re having is what is the college football committee really truly valuing. You saw everything with strength of schedule maybe at the beginning and now is it an undefeated season.

It depends on the committee. What are their thoughts and ideas? And as you’re making more plans to schedule games you look at all those things as a head football coach whether it’s the Big Ten or SEC. But I believe we have all the systems in place. I think the NCAA is making a lot of elite decisions, especially with the new redshirt rule. I think we’re really in a good place of college football. The game is safer than it’s ever been. The college football playoff has brought a completely new dynamic.

I was asked a question today — do you feel like a group of five team should be able to do that if you go undefeated, now that you’re not in the group of five. I said absolutely. I’m a huge advocate of that. And I’m sure Scott Frost might say the same thing. But I think the ability for that to happen might not happen for a while. And I think the possibility of that ever happening is there. Maybe if you go 13-0 and 13-0, but they say that one last year doesn’t affect necessarily this year. But I think that could start to turn the tide a little bit if you have a team that’s 26-0. You force somebody to do something. But again I love where it’s at. It’s a very exciting time in our game.

Q. You mentioned youth and experience specifically at the quarterback and wide receiver positions. Can you talk about what your expectations are at this season for the passing game and what you’ve seen from those two positions this offseason?
P.J. FLECK: Yeah, I’m the most cliché coach when it comes to expectations. And I’ve said this my six years of being a head coach. We’re going to be better today than we were yesterday — academically, athletically, socially and spiritually. That is the expectation. It is a peace of mind. Because sooner or later 10 wins won’t be good enough. Nine wins aren’t good enough. Coaches get fired all the time for that number. So what’s that number? At some places it’s national championship or you’re out. So it’s what is it that expectation?

Our expectation is making sure our players, our student-athletes are better on the field, off the field every single day, are becoming a team, doing the right things, creating a culture that can advance their life in every avenue of their life, and eventually you’ll get the wins on the field. But in terms of people asking me about the system and what are we changing, same coordinator, Kirk Ciarrocca, year one at Western Michigan, 1-11, worst offense in America. Two years later, three years later, top 20 offenses back to back, then a Cotton Bowl appearance. Same coach, same guys, same system.

We change it based on what can our players do. What can they manage? What are their strengths? We adapt our offense that way, but it’s the same thing. It will, it comes down to how well our quarterback can play. And I’m really excited to see, out of the two guys, who can win the team. We have two quarterbacks. That’s not exactly a position every coach wants to be in. But we have other needs.

I mean, I would love to take four quarterbacks. I’d love to take we had to take seven offensive linemen this year. A lot of people don’t do that. We had to. A lot of those guys are going to see the field. We had a lot of depth holes to fill very quickly and we’ve got to continue to do that in ’19 as well.

Q. I’m just curious your position with the Supreme Court ruling on legalizing gambling, states being allowed to — there’s talk of more of a national approach to injury report and being more open about injuries. Is that something that you would like to see happen? I know the commissioner said he would like to see that happen on a national basis?
P.J. FLECK: Are you talking the gambling first and then the —

Q. Just more about the injury reports, if that’s something you’re open to being —
P.J. FLECK: I’m all for it. Now, the specific reason why somebody’s not playing, I don’t agree with. I think there’s a lot of things that our university and our policies that we have to protect with the student-athlete’s rights. But I would love to be able to — I’ll give the information just like somebody else. But just like the NFL, now they give specific things. But is somebody going to be available or not available. That’s all I want to know.

I don’t need to know why, whether it’s a suspension, whether it’s an injury, whether it’s a knee, whether it’s grades, whether it’s disciplines — I don’t need to know all that. But I’m a huge advocate. I’d love to be able to see who is going to be able to play and not play. I think that creates different game-planning. It gives you a better advantage. But you’re also giving somebody an advantage, so it’s an equal playing field. I think teams have the right to know that.

 

2018 ROSTER

92           Ahanotu, Mayan              DL          6-4         250        FR           Tampa, Fla. (Berkeley Prep)

35           Anderson, Danny             LB           6-0         212        RS FR     Eden Prairie, Minn. (Eden Prairie HS)

77           Andries, Blaise   OL          6-5         313        RS FR     Marshall, Minn. (Marshall HS)

81           Annexstad, Brock             WR         6-2         198        RS FR     Norseland, Minn. (IMG Academy)

5             Annexstad, Zack               QB          6-3         215        FR           Norseland, Minn. (IMG Academy)

17           Aune, Josh          DB          6-2         200        FR           St. Paul, Minn. (Highland Park HS)

3             Autman-Bell, Chris           WR         6-1         193        RS FR     Kankakee, Ill. (Bishop McNamara HS)

41           Barber, Thomas LB           6-1         233        JR           Plymouth, Minn. (Robbinsdale Armstrong HS)

56           Barron, Ty           LB           6-0         225        FR           Minnetonka, Minn. (Minnetonka HS)

13           Bateman, Rashod             WR         6-2         200        FR           Tifton, Ga. (Tift County HS)

44           Beebe, Colton    TE           6-3         268        RS JR     Kansas City, Kan. (Piper HS)

63           Beier, Austin       OL          6-4         275        FR           Toledo, Ohio (St. John’s HS)

66           Boe, Nathan       OL          6-4         275        FR           Lakeville, Minn. (Lakeville North HS)

4             Brooks, Shannon              RB          6-0         213        SR           Austell, Ga. (Pickens HS)

96           Bursch, Nathan  TE           6-5         255        RS FR     Woodbury, Minn. (Woodbury HS)

38           Carpenter, Emmit            K             6-0         199        RS SR     Green Bay, Wis. (Ashwaubenon HS)

36           Cashman, Blake LB           6-2         235        SR           Eden Prairie, Minn. (Eden Prairie HS)

45           Coughlin, Carter               LB           6-4         245        JR           Eden Prairie, Minn. (Eden Prairie HS)

71           Davis, Ben           OL          6-4         274        RS SO    Elk Grove, Calif. (American River College)

46           DeLattiboudere, Winston             DL          6-3         247        RS JR     Baltimore, Md. (Howard HS)

12           Devers, Tai’yon  DL          6-4         229        JR           Pompano Beach, Fla. (Blanche Ely HS)

79           Dickson, Jason   OL          6-6         300        JR           Corona, Calif. (Diablo Valley CC)

82           Douglas, Demetrius         WR         6-0         181        RS FR     Portland, Ore. (Jesuit HS)

61           Dovich, Bronson               OL          6-5         298        RS JR     Chaska, Minn. (Chaska HS)

51           Dunlap Jr., Curtis              OL          6-5         370        FR           Jacksonville, Fla. (IMG Academy)

16           Durr, Coney        DB          5-10       191        JR           Baton Rouge, La. (Dutchtown HS)

8             Edmonds, Nolan               RB          5-11       200        FR           Alpharetta, Ga. (Alpharetta HS)

7             Estes, Rey            DB          6-0         163        RS FR     East St. Louis, Ill. (East St. Louis HS)

78           Faalele, Daniel   OL          6-9         400        FR           Melbourne, Australia (IMG Academy)

28           Femi-Cole, Jonathan       RB          6-0         228        RS JR     Vaughan, Ontario, Canada (St. Andrew’s College)

18           Geary, Clay         WR         5-10       191        RS SO    Lakeville, Minn. (Lakeville South HS)

84           Gibson, Erik        WR         6-3         190        FR           Detroit, Mich. (Martin Luther King HS)

3             Gibson, Jerry      DL          6-3         260        RS SR     Theodore, Ala. (Theodore HS)

27           Gossage, Paul     WR         6-3         175        RS JR     Mokena, Ill. (Eastern Illinois)

17           Green, Seth        TE           6-4         229        RS SO    Woodbury, Minn. (Allen HS)

73           Greene, Donnell               OL          6-7         320        RS SR     Marietta, Ga. (Coffeyville C.C.)

5             Guthrie, Trenton              LB           6-3         217        RS FR     Northville, Mich. (Northville HS)

26           Harris, Justus      DB          5-10       174        SO          Roswell, Ga. (Roswell HS)

47           Herbers, Jacob   P             6-2         215        RS JR     Battle Creek, Mich. (Lakeview HS)

91           Hickcox, Noah    DL          6-4         280        RS FR     Rockford, Ill. (Boylan Central Catholic HS)

25           Howard, Phillip  WR         5-11       187        RS SO    Minneapolis, Minn. (Robbinsdale Cooper HS)

2             Huff, Jacob         DB          5-11       207        SR           Bolingbrook, Ill. (Bolingbrook HS)

20           Huff, Julian          LB           6-0         225        SR           Bolingbrook, Ill. (Bolingbrook HS)

24           Ibrahim, Mohamed          RB          5-10       205        RS FR     Olney, Md. (Our Lady of Good Counsel HS)

98           Janes, Max          TE           6-3         230        FR           Shoreview, Minn. (Mounds View HS)

38           Jelen, Preston    RB          5-10       200        FR           Prior Lake, Minn. (Prior Lake HS)

6             Johnson, Tyler    WR         6-2         190        JR           Minneapolis, Minn. (North HS)

25           Jordahl, Payton  LS           6-2         230        RS SR     Perham, Minn. (Perham HS)

67           Kern, Jack           DL          6-2         300        FR           Eau Claire, Wis. (Eau Claire Memorial HS)

42           Kieft, Ko               TE           6-4         250        RS SO    Sioux Center, Iowa (Sioux Center HS)

29           Leius, Jack           DB          6-0         189        RS SO    Plymouth, Minn. (Robbinsdale Armstrong HS)

31           London, Dominik              RB          5-9         200        RS FR     Woodbury, Minn. (East Ridge HS)

37           Mack, John         K             6-0         193        RS SO    Hartland, Wis. (Arrowhead HS)

69           Mafe, Boye         DL          6-4         232        RS FR     Minnetonka, Minn. (Hopkins HS)

11           Manns, Jornell   WR         5-11       190        FR           Mansfield, Ohio (Mansfield Senior HS)

21           Martin, Kamal    LB           6-3         229        JR           Burnsville, Minn. (Burnsville HS)

24           McDonald, Bishop            DB          6-0         185        JR           Oakdale, Minn. (Minnesota Duluth)

49           McNeil, Jack       TE           6-5         255        FR           Madison, Wis. (Madison Edgewood HS)

46           Melvin, Alex       P             6-4         205        RS JR     Burnet, Texas (SMU)

19           Moore, Gary       DL          6-4         287        RS SR     Mobile, Ala. (Murphy HS)

2             Morgan, Tanner               QB          6-2         205        RS FR     Union, Ky. (Ryle HS)

89           Morse, Matt       WR         6-1         198        RS JR     Apple Valley, Minn. (Apple Valley HS)

94           N-Okonji, Abi      DL          6-3         245        FR           Snellville, Ga. (South Gwinnett HS)

74           Norton, Grant    OL          6-8         260        FR           Camdenton, Mo. (Camdenton HS)

93           Novak-Goar, Connor       DL          6-2         280        RS SO    Eden Prairie, Minn. (Iowa Western C.C.)

36           O’Brien, Casey   H            6-1         176        RS FR     Saint Paul, Minn. (Cretin-Derham Hall HS)

14           Oliver, Braelen   LB           6-0         215        FR           Douglasville, Ga. (Douglas County HS)

64           Olson, Conner    OL          6-5         297        RS SO    Monticello, Minn. (Monticello HS)

58           Oseland, Quinn  OL          6-6         305        RS JR     Springfield, Ill. (Sacred Heart Griffin HS)

9             Otomewo, Esezi               DL          6-6         240        RS FR     Indianapolis, Ind. (Ben Davis HS)

80           Paulson, Jake     TE           6-4         258        RS FR     Louisville, Ky. (Christian Academy)

53           Piche, Owen       LB           6-3         225        FR           Naperville Ill. (Navy)

19           Pickerign, Samuel             QB          6-4         224        RS FR     Alpharetta, Ga. (Minnehaha Academy)

30           Reigelsperger, Alex          DL          6-4         255        FR           Dayton, Ohio (Wayne HS)

90           Renner, Sam       DL          6-4         259        RS JR     Maple Grove, Minn. (Maple Grove Senior High)

59           Roane, Micah     DL          6-4         235        FR           Chaska, Minn. (Chaska HS)

75           Robinson, Malcolm          DL          6-3         290        RS FR     Massillon, Ohio (Washington HS)

65           Ruschmeyer, Axel            OL          6-4         281        RS FR     Hutchinson, Minn. (Holy Family Catholic HS)

28           Rush, Thomas    LB           6-3         225        FR           Marysville, Ohio (Marysville HS)

32           Russell, Joe         LB           6-2         194        RS FR     Shoreview, Minn. (Totino-Grace HS)

33           Ryerse, Grant     K / P       6-2         203        RS FR     Woodbury, Minn. (East Ridge HS)

16           Santaga, Jon       QB          6-1         192        RS FR     Green Bay, Wis. (Notre Dame De La Baie Academy)

22           Sapp III, Benny   DB          6-1         180        FR           Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Eden Prairie HS)

75           Sassack, Kyle      OL          6-7         283        RS FR     Pontiac, Mich. (Notre Dame Prep HS)

70           Schlueter, Sam   OL          6-6         298        RS SO    Victoria, Minn. (Mayer Lutheran HS)

60           Schmitz, John Michael    OL          6-4         286        RS FR     Flossmoor, Ill. (Homewood-Flossmoor HS)

43           Schoenfelder, Bailey       LB           6-3         225        RS SO    Huron, S.D. (Huron HS)

34           Shenault, Antonio            DB          5-11       192        SR           Roselle, Ill. (Lake Park HS)

97           Silver, Royal       DL          6-3         292        RS JR     Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Iowa Western CC)

15           Smith, CJ             DB          6-1         180        FR           Jacksonville, Fla. (Fletcher HS)

99           Smith, O.J.          DL          6-2         309        RS JR     Bossier City, La. (Alabama)

1             Smith, Rodney   RB          5-11       210        RS SR     Jonesboro, Ga. (Mundy’s Mill HS)

4             Smith, Terell       DB          6-1         180        FR           Snellville, Ga. (South Gwinnett HS)

55           Sori-Marin, Mariano        LB           6-3         235        FR           Mokena, Ill. (Providence Catholic HS)

88           Spann-Ford, Brevyn         TE           6-7         245        FR           St. Cloud, Minn. (Technical HS)

40           Strazzanti, Alex  DB          6-2         194        RS FR     Chaska, Minn. (Chaska HS)

27           Swenson, Calvin               DB          6-1         209        RS SO    Kaukauna, Wis. (Kaukauna HS)

52           Teague, Elijah     DL          6-3         295        FR           South Holland, Ill. (Marist HS)

31           Thomas, Kiondre              DB          6-0         188        RS SO    Fort Smith, Ark. (Northside HS)

26           Thompson, True               WR         6-4         200        RS SO    Plymouth, Minn. (Iowa Western Community College)

87           Umlor, Nate       DL          6-5         269        SO          Allendale, Mich. (Allendale HS)

83           Van Dyne, Harry               WR         6-5         185        RS FR     Stilwell, Kan. (Blue Valley HS)

87           Van Dyne, Yale  WR         6-3         205        RS SO    Overland Park, Kan. (Iowa)

39           Vojvodich, Michael          LS           6-3         215        FR           Annandale, Va (Woodson HS)

34           Walker, Brock    K             5-10       190        FR           Sioux Falls, S.D. (Washington HS)

62           Weyler, Jared     OL          6-4         296        RS SR     Dayton, Ohio (Centerville HS)

21           Williams, Bryce  RB          6-0         200        FR           Sarasota, Fla. (Cardinal Mooney HS)

6             Williamson, Chris             DB          5-11       191        RS JR     Gainesville, Ga. (Florida)

11           Winfield Jr., Antoine        DB          5-10       204        RS SO    The Woodlands, Texas (The Woodlands HS)

85           Witham, Bryce   TE           6-4         257        RS JR     Grand Rapids, Mich. (West Catholic HS)

86           Witherspoon, Clayton    TE           6-4         235        RS FR     Eden Prairie, Minn. (Eden Prairie HS)

76           York, Jack            OL          6-6         300        FR           Dallas, Texas (First Baptist Academy)

 

Coaches

P.J. Fleck – Head Coach

Kirk Ciarrocca – Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks

Robb Smith – Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers

Rob Wenger – Special Teams Coord. / Outside Linebackers

Jahmile Addae – Defensive Backs Coach

Kenni Burns – Running Backs Coach

Brian Callahan – Offensive Line Coach

Clay Patterson – Tight Ends Coach

Joe Rossi – Defensive Line Coach

Matt Simon – Wide Receivers Coach

Marcus West – Defensive Line Pass Rush Specialist

Gerrit Chernoff – General Manager

Dan Nichol – Head Strength and Conditioning

Jeremy Cole – Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach

Marcus Wasilewski – Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach

Ben Schumacher – Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach

Nick Siciliano – Quality Control

Dan Collins – Quality Control

David Parker – Quality Control

Norries Wilson – Director of Player Development

Marcus Hendrickson – Director of Player Personnel

John Schaekel – Recruiting Coordinator

Zach Bell – Director of Recruiting Communications

Will Henry – Recruiting Assistant and Graphic Design Specialist

Daniel Ifft – Director of Football Operations

Evan Barker – Assistant Director of Ops, Player Development & High School Relations

Keli’ikuewa Kekuewa – Offensive Graduate Assistant

Drew Moulton – Offensive Graduate Assistant

Donald Celiscar – Defensive Graduate Assistant

Michael Priefer Jr. – Special Teams Graduate Assistant

Michael Sypniak – Head Athletic Trainer

Arno Rheinberger – Assistant Athletic Trainer

Matt Childers – Director of Video

Derek Schmidt – Assistant Director of Video Services

Kyle Gergely – Director of Equipment Operations

Sarah Woodruff – Executive Assistant to Head Coach

Marjorie Walsh – Assistant to Recruiting and Coaching Staff