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.
In honor of the basketball upset over top-ranked Indiana, let’s take a closer look today at a Gophers football player from the Hoosier State:
High School: Indianapolis Warren
Recruiting flashback: Tim Brewster’s staff recruited him as a safety after he helped lead Warren High School to Indiana’s 5A state championship in 2009. Rivals.com listed Manuel as a three-star recruit, who also had offers to Iowa and Michigan State.
Early college: As a true freshman in 2010, he played all 12 games at safety and started three, making 29 tackles and forcing two turnovers. Jerry Kill’s staff took over for 2011, and Manuel again played all 12 games but finished with fewer tackles (11).
2012 rewind: The Gophers moved Manuel to linebacker last year for spring practice. At the time, Kill said: “He’s an in-between guy. ... We felt like moving him down [closer to the line] gave him a chance to play in the box, not be in as much space, and use his abilities better.” Manuel finished seventh on the team with 50 tackles. He played in all 13 games and started one.
2013 outlook: At linebacker, Aaron Hill is back, but the Gophers need to replace two starters, in Mike Rallis and Keanon Cooper. With 37 games of experience under his belt, including a full year at linebacker, Manuel will be among those looking to fill the void.
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