Six days after he caused jaws to drop with his weaving and bull-dozing 76-yard punt return for a touchdown, Antoine Winfield was still on Cloud Nine.
“It’s still amazing to see,’’ the Gophers sophomore defensive back said Wednesday. “It’s all over social media.’’
In Minnesota’s 48-10 season-opening victory over New Mexico State on Thursday, Winfield broke five tackles on the return and was named Big Ten co-special teams player of the week. The explosive play also was a triumphant return for a playmaker who missed the final eight games of the 2017 season because of a hamstring injury.
“It’s always amazing when you get a chance to get on the field and play with your brothers in a sport that you love and spend so much time on,’’ said Winfield, who also made five tackles. “It was a great feeling being out there.’’
Coach P.J. Fleck hinted that the Gophers might even use Winfield on offense. That piqued offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca’s interest.
“It’s something that we’re thinking about, or I should say, something I’m dreaming about,’’ Ciarrocca said, laughing. “He’s really a dynamic young man.’’
Said defensive coordinator Robb Smith, “Everybody wants him. … Right now, we’re fortunate to have him as a stalwart of our secondary.’’
Seeing time on offense would be fine with Winfield, too. “I’d love to do it,’’ he said. “I love scoring. That would be great.’’