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.
I started this player capsule series determined to find some of the best stories on the Gophers roster. Here's another good one:
Position: Wide Receiver
Eligibility: Fifth-year senior
High School: Chaska
Recruiting flashback: Engel was an honorable mention All-State selection at Chaska and had preferred walk-on offers at Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nebraska. Rivals.com listed him as a two-star recruit.
Early college: He picked Winona State, where he made an immediate impact as a freshman. As a sophomore in 2010, he was an All-NSIC selection. He transferred to Minnesota and sat out the 2011 season, under NCAA rules.
2012 rewind: Engel started just one game (at Nebraska) but played in 12 and finished with 18 catches for 375 yards and one touchdown. He kept climbing the ladder as the Gophers lost other receivers through attrition. Jamel Harbison tore an ACL, A.J. Barker quit and Andre McDonald was suspended from the bowl game for violating team rules. Against Texas Tech, Engel was a go-to guy for Philip Nelson, catching four passes for 108 yards. Engel also was an Academic All-Big Ten selection.
2013 outlook: Engel is the Gophers’ leading returning receiver. Granted, we’re only talking about 375 yards, but his career is a testament to determination, so it’ll be fun seeing how he finishes.
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