Demry Croft, the sophomore quarterback who after Saturday’s loss to Wisconsin asked Gophers coach P.J. Fleck for his release from the program, on Monday night said he’ll transfer from Minnesota and that he was falsely accused of damaging a door, which led to a suspension early in the season.
“After this semester ends I will be transferring from the University of Minnesota,’’ Croft posted in a statement on Twitter. “Due to the unfortunate situation I have decided to leave the football program and the University of Minnesota. I was falsely accused of damaging a door. Which I was indefinitely suspended for. The video clearly shows my innocence. Which has created a very uncomfortable environment. Which my family and I have decided to depart from the University and start a new chapter.’’
Croft in his statement also thanked former Gophers coach Jerry Kill for recruiting him and the current staff for this season.
Croft, a Rockford, Ill., native, was named co-starter with senior Conor Rhoda during training camp. Rhoda started the season’s first two games, with Croft seeing action, too. He was suspended indefinitely after the Gophers’ 48-14 win at Oregon State in Week 2. He missed games against Middle Tennessee and Maryland, before rejoining the team on Oct. 7 at Purdue.
Croft relieved a struggling Rhoda in the second quarter of the Oct. 14 game against Michigan State, rallying the Gophers with three fourth-quarter touchdown passes in a 30-27 loss. He took over as starter for the final six games of the season, but struggled for the most part. In the final two games of the season, Croft completed only five of 20 passes, going 2-for-11 for 36 yards with three interceptions in a 39-0 loss at Northwestern and 3-for-9 for 40 yards in a 31-0 loss to Wisconsin.
Croft’s best game came in the 54-21 rout of Nebraska on Nov. 11, in which he rushed 10 times for 183 yards and three TDs, a school record for rushing yards by a quarterback. The following week, Fleck praised Croft’s development.
“I'm very proud of him and the progress he has shown since coming back from his suspension,’’ Fleck said. “It's been rapid. His academics are up, what he's doing in the community, serving and giving with the Children's Hospital and I think he's starting to find out what his purpose really is. And when you start to watch that in a young man, there's nothing by coincidence of why he's playing at a high level.’’
But, Fleck added, “It's not like you have five more chances to screw up, though.’’
A school spokesman said via text message Monday morning that Fleck will grant Croft his release.
On Monday afternoon, dual-threat junior college quarterback Vic Viramontes of Riverside (Calif.) City College announced he had verbally committed to the Gophers.