Gophers defensive tackle Royal Silver (97), who started six games in 2018, has left the program because of medical reason, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed Tuesday night.
Silver, a fifth-year senior who had one year of eligibility remaining in 2019, played in 11 games, with five starts, last fall and had five tackles, including three for loss. He appeared in Minnesota’s first nine contests before missing the Purdue and Northwestern games because of an undisclosed injury. The 6-3, 300-pound, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native redshirted in 2017 after playing two seasons at Iowa Western Community College.
Silver is the second defensive tackle in the past week to leave the Gophers with a year of eligibility remaining. Last Tuesday, O.J. Smith, who was limited to six games as a starter because of a head injury, announced he would forgo his senior season in 2019 to enter the NFL draft.
The departures of Silver and Smith leave fifth-year senior Sam Renner and sophomore Jamaal Teague as the Gophers’ most-experienced defensive tackles for 2019. Renner played in all 13 games in 2018, starting two and finishing with 13 tackles. Teague had eight tackles, two for loss, in seven games as a true freshman last year.
The Gophers gained depth on their defensive line last week with the addition of Notre Dame graduate transfer Micah Dew-Treadway, who will be eligible to play his senior season this fall. Coach P.J. Fleck also addressed the defensive line in his 2019 recruiting class during the early period in December, signing four-star tackle Rashad Cheney of Cedar Grove High School in Ellenwood, Ga.; three-star tackle Keonte Schad of Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa; and three-star tackle DeAngelo Carter of Lee County High School in Leesburg, Ga. In addition, Kristian Williams, a four-star tackle from Southwind High School in Memphis, has verbally committed to the Gophers but is scheduled to make an official visit to Oregon this weekend.
Earlier Tuesday, Fleck announced on Twitter that quarterback Zack Annexstad and defensive back Jordan Howden, both true freshmen walk-ons who started parts of last season, have received scholarships.
Also, three walk-ons who played little or none last year are no longer with the program: redshirt freshman defensive back Jack Leius, who did not play last season and has entered the NCAA’s transfer portal; redshirt freshman kicker John Mack, who kicked off one time; and redshirt sophomore wide receiver Yale Van Dyne, who did not see game action.