Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.
Email Joe to talk about the Gophers.
Former Gophers quarterback MarQueis Gray is trying to impress teams ahead of next month’s NFL Draft, but he acknowledged Monday that he’s still recovering from a left-ankle injury.
Gray lowered his 40-yard dash time to 4.67 seconds at Minnesota’s annual Pro Day, down from 4.73 seconds at last month’s NFL Combine. He said when the ankle is fully recovered, his time should be closer to 4.5 seconds.
The high-ankle sprain he suffered last season was starting to feel better before he re-aggravated it in the bowl game, Gray said. He went from there to Florida to train for the combine.
“It’s getting there, but I just don’t have time to rest it right now because I’m working every day,” Gray said.
Gray went through drills at quarterback, wide receiver and tight end Monday, with officials from 13 NFL teams, including the Vikings, on hand to watch. What position gives Gray the best shot at the next level?
“I really have no idea,” he said. “At the combine, I did some good things throwing the ball. And today, I did some good things catching the ball. So I look at that as a double win for me. Being athletic and being able to do some of the things I’ve done -- that’s a positive for me.”
Gray made it clear he’s willing to play whatever position an NFL team wants. But if he had his pick?
“I’m always going to be a quarterback,” he said. “I love playing quarterback. Receiver’s probably my second one because I don’t have to get into a three-point stance. But if a coach asks me to do it [at tight end], then it’s something I’m going to have to do.”
In coming weeks, Gray could get asked to work out for various NFL teams at their facilities. He'll keep trying to improve his stock. The draft is April 25-27.
OTHER GOPHER NOTABLES
Keanon Cooper had the fastest 40-yard dash time of all the former Gophers working out Monday. The linebacker was clocked at 4.50 seconds, and that was with a sore hamstring.
Cornerback Troy Stoudermire was second at 4.51 seconds. Linebacker Mike Rallis and cornerback Michael Carter both were clocked at 4.69 seconds. Rallis impressed with a 38-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot, 4-inch broad jump.
CHECK THAT STOPWATCH!
Another player who really turned heads was former Northern Iowa receiver Terrell Sinkfield.
A running back at Hopkins High School, Sinkfield went to Northern Iowa and had a fairly quiet career. Last season, he had 43 receptions for 499 yards and four TDs.
But Sinkfield’s vertical jump Monday was 40.5 inches. His broad jump was 11-feet, 5 inches. Then came the 40-yard dash.
Sinkfield’s first attempt was 4.27 seconds. His second attempt was 4.19 seconds. The scouts couldn’t believe their stopwatches, so they made him run it again. That time, he slipped and still ran a 4.41. His average time was 4.33 seconds.
Gray, who has the same agent as Sinkfield, said he wasn’t surprised.
“We work out together,” Gray said. “I see it every day.”
Sinkfield admitted he was especially motivated, getting the chance to work out at the Gophers facility.
“Coming out of Minnesota and not really getting recruited by Minnesota, I felt like I could have been playing here,” Sinkfield said. “I came here with a chip on my shoulder.”
|Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson||2||FINAL|
|Pittsburgh - WP: V. Mazzaro||4|
|Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman||6||FINAL|
|Toronto - WP: B. Morrow||12|
|Cleveland - WP: Z. McAllister||12||FINAL|
|Boston - LP: R. Dempster||3|
|Minnesota - LP: J. Burton||6||FINAL|
|Detroit - WP: J. Benoit||7|
|LA Angels - WP: J. Blanton||5||FINAL|
|Kansas City - LP: E. Santana||4|
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