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

NY Mets 3 Top 6th Inning
Atlanta 2
Philadelphia 2 Top 7th Inning
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 4 Bottom 6th Inning
Baltimore 0
Toronto 3 Top 6th Inning
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2:05 PM
Cleveland
San Diego 2:05 PM
Seattle
Chicago WSox 2:05 PM
Los Angeles
Kansas City 2:05 PM
Texas
Oakland 2:05 PM
San Francisco
Wisc-Milwaukee 2:05 PM
Milwaukee
Arizona 2:10 PM
Colorado
Univ of Minnesota 6:05 PM
Minnesota
New York 6:00 PM
Indiana
Phoenix 6:00 PM
Orlando
Cleveland 6:30 PM
Toronto
Utah 6:30 PM
Boston
Charlotte 6:30 PM
Brooklyn
Denver 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Detroit 7:00 PM
New Orleans
LA Lakers 7:00 PM
Miami
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Memphis 7:00 PM
Houston
Sacramento 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Milwaukee 9:30 PM
Golden State
Portland 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Ottawa 6:30 PM
Winnipeg
NY Rangers 7:00 PM
Detroit
Pittsburgh 9:00 PM
Colorado
Montreal 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Longwood 65 FINAL
Presbyterian 61
Campbell 7 1st Half 11:23
Gardner-Webb 13
Liberty 5:00 PM
UNC-Asheville
Ohio State 5:00 PM
Penn State
Maine 6:00 PM
Albany
Duquesne 6:00 PM
Fordham
George Washington 6:00 PM
George Mason
Tennessee 6:00 PM
LSU
Notre Dame 6:00 PM
Louisville
SE Missouri St 6:00 PM
Morehead State
St Francis-PA 6:00 PM
Mount St Marys
Hartford 6:00 PM
New Hampshire
Wagner 6:00 PM
Robert Morris
Long Island 6:00 PM
St Francis-NY
La Salle 6:00 PM
Saint Josephs
Providence 6:00 PM
Seton Hall
UCF 6:00 PM
South Florida
Binghamton 6:00 PM
Stony Brook
UMBC 6:00 PM
Vermont
Sacred Heart 6:00 PM
Bryant
Richmond 6:30 PM
Massachusetts
Wake Forest 7:00 PM
Duke
Purdue 7:00 PM
Michigan State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Pittsburgh
St Bonaventure 7:00 PM
Saint Louis
New Mexico St 7:00 PM
TX-Pan American
Houston 7:00 PM
Tulane
Howard 7:00 PM
NJIT
SIU Edwardsville 8:00 PM
Eastern Ill
St Johns 8:00 PM
Marquette
TCU 8:00 PM
Oklahoma State
Cincinnati 8:00 PM
Tulsa
USC 8:00 PM
UCLA
Miss State 8:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Utah State 8:00 PM
Wyoming
Air Force 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Nebraska 9:00 PM
Illinois
Colorado State 9:00 PM
Nevada
Boise State 9:00 PM
San Jose St
San Diego St 10:00 PM
UNLV
Oregon 10:00 PM
Oregon State
UC Santa Barbara 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Toledo 64 FINAL
Northern Ill 68
Wake Forest 53 2nd Half 9:36
Boston College 45
Eastern Illinois 35 FINAL
UT Martin 68
Austin Peay 2:00 PM
SIU-Edwardsville
Virginia Tech 2:30 PM
NC State
Massachusetts 3:30 PM
St Bonaventure
Auburn 4:00 PM
Florida
Penn State 5:00 PM
Indiana
Clemson 5:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Davidson 6:00 PM
La Salle
Youngstown St 6:00 PM
Cleveland State
Coll of Charleston 6:00 PM
James Madison
Delaware 6:00 PM
Elon
Drexel 6:00 PM
Northeastern
Hofstra 6:00 PM
UNC-Wilmington
Towson 6:00 PM
William & Mary
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Akron
Ball State 6:00 PM
Central Michigan
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Bowling Green
Western Mich 6:00 PM
Eastern Michigan
Ohio U 6:00 PM
Kent State
Illinois-Chicago 6:00 PM
Wright State
Loyola-Maryland 6:00 PM
Lafayette
Boston U 6:00 PM
Colgate
Alabama 6:25 PM
Vanderbilt
Detroit 7:00 PM
Milwaukee
Purdue 7:25 PM
Wisconsin
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: Who is the best center on a Twin Cities sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close