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 a blow to an already thin wide receiving group, the Gophers announced Monday that Devin Crawford-Tufts is sitting out the football season to focus on track and field. Here is the release from the team:
Devin Crawford-Tufts was a member of both the football and men’s track and field team at Minnesota during his sophomore year in 2012-13. For the upcoming 2013-14 academic year, Crawford-Tufts will participate only in track and field and will not be a member of the football team.
“Devin and I have met multiple times over the past couple of months, and he has decided to focus on track and field for the upcoming season,” said Minnesota coach Jerry Kill. “Devin is a fine young man. We wish him well and will be rooting for him.”
Crawford-Tufts made 24 catches for 345 yards in 21 career games for the Gophers. His lone touchdown reception came against Texas Tech in the Meineke Car Care Bowl last season. Crawford-Tufts, who was a Minnesota state champion in the 100 and 200 meters in high school, joined the track and field team in February 2013. He went on to finish fourth at the Big Ten Championships in 60 meters.
Adam Weber's NFL negotiations, stalled for nearly five months during the league's lockout, finally got under way Tuesday morning.
By 9 a.m., they were over, and Weber was a Denver Bronco.
"It's really crazy. I had a few good options, and I had to look at them really quickly and make a decision so I can get to work," Weber said. "Teams have different motivations that you have to figure out -- like some are just looking for an extra arm for camp -- but it wasn't hard. When I looked at the Broncos, it was kind of a no-brainer."
He'll be reunited with former Gopher Eric Decker, who caught 200 of his passes in college, with the Broncos. Weber will report to training camp on Wednesday.
More Gopher signings: Fullback Jon Hoese has agreed to a free-agent contract with the Green Bay Packers, while offensive lineman Dominic Alford has joined the Cleveland Browns.
As you watch the Vikings game tonight, keep an eye out for Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, who has had two 1,000-yard rushing seasons in his six-year NFL career. His connection to Gophers football?
He was coached by Jerry Kill.
Jacobs played his senior season in 2004 at Southern Illinois, where Kill had turned the Salukis into a Division I-AA powerhouse, after deciding he wouldn't get enough playing time behind Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown at Auburn.
That's probably not enough of a recruiting triumph to convince Minnesota skeptics that Kill can recruit BCS-level players; heck, the only reason Jacobs went to Carbondale was that he needed to drop down a level in order to avoid sitting out a season. But Kill got a memorable season out of Jacobs, even though he split up the ball-carrying workload with a couple other players, including former Gopher Terry Jackson.
Jacobs rushed for 992 yards and 19 touchdowns in his only season with Kill, and was drafted in the fourth round by the Giants.
When Kill was hired by the Gophers last week, Jacobs told the university's athletic communications department, "He's the perfect college coach."
Said Jacobs, who had 103 yards on just eight carries against the Redskins last week, "He treated you like a man. There was a level of respect. He treated all his players fairly. He expected the best out of you and wanted you to go out and do everything you could to win. He stood behind you no matter what."
Eric Decker, the Gophers’ all-time leading receiver, will report to the Denver Broncos training camp on time, after agreeing to a contract on Tuesday.
Sitting here in the press box at Ryan Field with our football columnist Mark Craig. It's a bit hazy, but you can still see Lake Michigan. Nice campus, quaint stadium, real grass.
We did this the right way. We left very early, got here without any traffic and had time to stroll over to a breakfast place before coming to the press box. So I'm fat, fed and happy and ready for the game.
I still think the Gophers are going to win this game, but that it will be close. They say it might rain here at some point during the game, which should make things more interesting. I'll get back to you at halftime with some thoughts then.
Have a good day
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