Gophers freshmen wide receivers figure to play

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 26, 2012 - 9:47 AM

The Gophers football team hopes to preserve the redshirt status of their freshmen offensive and defensive linemen, coach Jerry Kill said Saturday, but that's not possible at other positions. Which means Jamel Harbison and possibly Andre McDonald will be catching passes this season.

At least eight true freshmen, including the Gophers' highly prized teenage wide receivers, will make the trip to Las Vegas on Wednesday, Kill said, and at least six of them are likely to play.

"We just don't have the depth" at skill positions to sideline their newest players, the coach said. "Shoot, I'd redshirt them all if I could. But I think you saw in the spring, we thought we needed some playmakers."

Also headed to UNLV for their first collegiate game are quarterback Philip Nelson, running back K.J. Maye, defensive end Scott Epke and defensive backs Eric Murray, Antonio Johnson and Damarius Travis. All will be available to their normal positions, and a couple will play special teams as well.

If all eight true freshmen got in against UNLV, it would match the eight the Gophers had to use last season, though that's not likely. Nelson will travel as an emergency QB, Kill said. The status of Epke, McDonald and Maye will be determined this week.

The Gophers intend to preserve a year of eligibility for some of the most highly touted February recruits, such as Nelson and fellow quarterback Mitch Leidner, offensive linemen Isaac Hayes and Jonah Pirsig and tailback Rodrick Williams.

Harbison and McDonald made some electrifying plays in fall camp. Considering that receiver is one of the Gophers' thinnest positions, it seemed evident since camp opened a month ago that Kill would not have the luxury of sitting them out for a year. Sure enough, he said Harbison will "certainly" play and McDonald will be in the 70-player traveling party, with a decision on playing time to be decided this week -- or even during the game.

"He had an outstanding camp, and he can go get a football," Kill said of Harbison.

Harbison has looked like a veteran since he arrived, quarterback MarQueis Gray said. "Jamel knows what he's supposed to do, and he makes sure the other receivers line up right, too," Gray said. "It's one of those leadership [responsibilities] he's starting to take on at an early age."

Offensive line decision

Kill said there is one more decision to be made on the offensive line, where Ed and Tommy Olson will play left tackle and left guard and Josh Campion will handle right tackle. Coaches are still trying to decide whether the Gophers are stronger with Zach Mottla at center and Zac Epping at right guard, or Epping at center and Foster Bush at right guard.

The Gophers also aren't saying who their starting tailback will be, and it seems to be because they don't know. Kill had the running backs spend 15 minutes Saturday working on picking up blitzes. He mentioned Donnell Kirkwood, James Gillum, Devon Wright and Maye as possibilities.

  • related content

  • Andre McDonald during his Hopkins days.

  • GOPHERS NOTES • Season opener: 10 p.m. Thursday at UNLV • TV: CBS Sports Network (100.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 4
Houston - B. Peacock 6:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Carrasco
San Francisco - T. Hudson 6:05 PM
Washington - D. Fister
St. Louis - A. Wainwright 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick
Chicago WSox - J. Danks 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - S. Greene
Tampa Bay - D. Smyly 6:07 PM
Toronto - M. Stroman
Atlanta - M. Minor 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - M. Latos
Seattle - F. Hernandez 6:10 PM
Boston - J. Kelly
Kansas City - Y. Ventura 7:05 PM
Texas - C. Lewis
Pittsburgh - J. Locke 7:10 PM
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo
Detroit - R. Ray 7:10 PM
Minnesota - T. Milone
Miami - H. Alvarez 7:40 PM
Colorado - F. Morales
San Diego - O. Despaigne 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
LA Angels - H. Santiago 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
NY Mets - J. Niese 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
Carolina 6:30 PM
New England
NY Giants 6:30 PM
NY Jets
Jacksonville 6:30 PM
Detroit
Oakland 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Chicago 9:00 PM
Seattle
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Real Salt Lake 8:00 PM
FC Dallas
Montreal 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Chicago 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Phoenix
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which football team will have the best record in 2014?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close