Gophers senior left offensive tackle Donnell Greene announced via Instagram on Thursday that he has signed with an agent and will pursue an NFL career, meaning his college career is over and he won’t be eligible to play for Minnesota in the Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 26 in Detroit.
Greene, an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection, recently underwent knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus, and faces a rehabilitation period of three to four months, a source said. He played played in 11 of 12 games and started 10 this season, missing the Nov. 3 Illinois contest because of the knee injury. He played through the injury in the 24-14 loss to Northwestern on Nov. 17 and the 37-15 win at Wisconsin on Nov. 24.
Greene, a Marietta, Ga., native, transferred from Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College to Minnesota. The 6-7, 320-pounder played in 36 games and started 29 in three years with the Gophers.
Greene joins a trend of players who are skipping their non-playoff bowl games, as they pursue NFL careers. Other players who won’t play in their team’s bowl game, presumably to avoid the chance of injury, include Iowa tight end Noah Fant, Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary, North Carolina State receiver Kelvin Harmon and linebacker Germaine Pratt, Arizona State wide receiver K’Neal Harry, Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill, Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, South Carolina receiver Deebo Samuel, LSU cornerback Greedy Williams and West Virginia quarterback Will Grier.
Sophomore Sam Schlueter started at left tackle in place of Greene against Indiana and Illinois. Schlueter was used a blocking tight end against Northwestern and Wisconsin in the final two games of the regular season, and junior Quinn Oseland and redshirt freshman Kyle Sassack were listed as backups at left tackle for the game at Wisconsin.