Tanner Morgan started six games for the Gophers as a redshirt freshman this season, including their three Big Ten victories, and is expected to get the nod for the Quick Lane Bowl. Zack Annexstad started six games as a true freshman, including a win over a Fresno State team that finished 12-2.
So when the Gophers open the 2019 season against South Dakota State on Aug. 29 at TCF Bank Stadium, either Morgan or Annexstad will start under center, right?
Not so fast, coach P.J. Fleck said.
“It’s a competition,” Fleck said Wednesday. “We’re going to find out.”
That competition will involve Morgan and Annexstad, along with two recruits who signed their national letters of intent Wednesday — Jacob Clark of Rockwall, Texas, and Cole Kramer of Eden Prairie.
Clark passed for 3,295 yards and 31 touchdowns this season for Rockwall. He is the 19th-ranked pro-style quarterback by the 247Sports.com composite of major recruiting services. Clark competed at the highest prep level in Texas passed for 428 yards in a playoff loss to Allen, the nation’s No. 3-ranked team.
“This guy’s a gunslinger,” Fleck said, “and he’s got incredible intangibles.”
Kramer, who led Eden Prairie to three consecutive Prep Bowl berths, is the 27th-ranked dual-threat QB nationally.
“He tough, he’s got a really good arm, he’s incredibly intelligent, and he’s a football guy,” Fleck said.
Clark and Kramer will enroll in January and participate in spring practices. Fleck also plans to give Annexstad a scholarship in the new year.
“We went from one scholarship quarterback, and we’ll have four come January, basically,” Fleck said.
Cretin-Derham Hall wide receiver Peter Udoibok and St. Croix Falls (Wis.) offensive lineman Tyler Cooper will be “maroon shirts” this coming season, meaning they’ll be walk-ons with a promise to receive a scholarship the following year.
“They’re amazing players, and you’ve got to get really creative when you want really good players,” Fleck said.
Dunlap to start
Fleck said true freshman guard Curtis Dunlap Jr. will start in the Quick Lane Bowl. Dunlap has played in three games, so participating in the bowl game won’t cost him a year of eligibility. Dunlap would join fellow freshman and former IMG Academy teammate Daniel Faalele as a starter on the Gophers offensive line.
Vic in Vegas
Vic Viramontes, the quarterback who signed with the Gophers last December only to transfer back to Riverside (Calif.) City College in June, signed with UNLV to play outside linebacker. For his signing announcement, he dressed up in cowboy garb, matching the look of the iconic “Vegas Vic” neon sign in Las Vegas, and posted photos on Twitter.