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.
With the Gophers' season over, the graduating seniors can focus now on the possibility of extending their football careers.
Quarterback/receiver MarQueis Gray announced via Twitter on Monday that he "Just got the news that I'm officially invited to the NFL Combine! Time to get busy!"
But he's not the only Gopher expected to showcase his talents for NFL scouts. In fact, thanks to the NFL's new, expanded talent scouting process, nearly every senior can be evaluated by professional talent-hunters.
Gray has presumably been invited to the National Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, a weeklong workout-and-interview session for roughly 300 prospects which begins Feb. 20 in Indianapolis. That's where most of the top prospects for next April's NFL draft will go, hoping to solidify their professional prospects, and where Gray will attempt to impress scouts with his physical stature and ability. His case will be particularly interesting, given that his position as a pro -- receiver? tight end? linebacker? running back? Wildcat quarterback? -- has not been established.
But last year, the NFL expanded the process to include 10 regional combines, including four for punters and kickers, and a "super-regional" shortly before the draft for players who made a strong impression in the early sessions. Every collegiate player with NFL potential, in other words, should have a chance to prove his professional worthiness.
Cornerback Troy Stoudermire is in Houston, where on Wednesday he will begin training for the combine process. Other Gophers expected to get a look from scouts include cornerback Michael Carter, defensive end D.L. Wilhite, linebackers Keanon Cooper and Mike Rallis, and tight end John Rabe.
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