With senior running back Shannon Brooks lost for the 2018 season because of a lower leg injury, the Gophers need someone to step up and fill that complementary role to workhorse senior Rodney Smith.

Thursday night in Minnesota’s spring game at TCF Bank Stadium, redshirt freshman Mohamed Ibrahim grabbed that role.

Ibrahim rushed 19 times for 104 yards for the Maroon team in a 24-20 loss to the Gold. The Olney, Md., native also caught four passes for 49 yards.

“He’s going to play a lot. He’s going to have to,” Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said. “… He’s one of the toughest football players I’ve ever been around. He was on the scout team all last year. There’s times we go live on the scout team all through the year, so our defense can tackle. He never complained, moaned. He did exactly what he did [during the spring game].”

Surprise scholarship

During a break in the second quarter, Fleck awarded redshirt junior defensive lineman Sam Renner of Maple Grove a scholarship by announcing it with a video. Teammates mobbed Renner upon the announcement.

“It’s an absolute dream come true,” said Renner, a former walk-on. “I was fortunate to see my roommate, Blake Cashman, earn one last year. … It’s an amazing feeling. I had absolutely no clue it was going on.”

Said Fleck: “He’s a tremendous kid — very, very smart academically. He graduated in three years. … It’s fitting. He gets the scholarship, and on the last play of the game, he’s the one who gets the pressure on the quarterback.”

Cornerback commits to U

Tyler Nubin, a three-star cornerback from St. Charles (Ill.) North High School, announced via Twitter that he has committed to the Gophers.

The 6-2, 183-pounder becomes the fifth player from the Class of 2019 to commit to the Gophers. Nubin, who had 26 tackles, 10 passes defended and two interceptions as a junior last season, has scholarship offers from six other Big Ten schools — Illinois, Michigan State, Michigan, Purdue, Iowa and Northwestern — along with Kentucky and Tennessee of the Southeastern Conference. He received an offer from the Gophers on Jan. 27 during Junior Day and took an unofficial visit this past weekend.