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.

Friday update: Linebacker commits to Gophers; new QB arrives; Dungy to be honored

Posted by: Joe Christensen under Gophers recruiting, Gophers spring football, Gophers awards and honors, NCAA Updated: January 18, 2013 - 10:40 AM

The Gophers received a verbal commitment from Florida high school linebacker Rayfield Dixon, according to GopherIllustrated.com, which said Dixon's choices had come down to Minnesota and West Virginia. The site has Dixon rated as a three-star linebacker and lists him as the 15th commitment for this year's Gophers class.

STREVELER LOOKS TO FORGE BONDS

I spoke to Chris Streveler, the quarterback from Marian Central Catholic in Woodstock, Ill., who begins classes at the University on Tuesday. He'll be competing for the starting job during spring practice with Philip Nelson, Mitch Leidner and Dexter Foreman.

"If it happens, it happens, but I’m not going to come in and press and worry about it," Streveler said. "I hope the quarterbacks there will take me under their wing and kind of help me out. Because I’m sure coming in early, it’s going to be a big jump coming from high school to college."

Streveler is rooming with Leidner, actually.

"I think it’ll be great to be around [the other quarterbacks] and learn from them and just come in and work hard. That’s kind of my motto: just get better every day. If I do that, things will work out."

Streveler sounds like a terrific kid. We'll have more on him next week.

DUNGY TO RECEIVE NCAA'S HIGHEST HONOR TONIGHT

There was a cool aside during last night's Gophers/Michigan telecast, when ESPN showed the 1974 game program from a visit Dick Vitale made to Williams Arena as a coach with the University of Detroit.

Tony Dungy, a two-sport athlete for the Gophers at the time, played against Vitale's team that night, and was featured in the game program with a photo spread. Decades later, when Dungy was an honored guest at the Dick Vitale annual charity gala, he brought along that program for Vitale as a gift.

As mentioned here last week, Dungy will be honored again tonight, this time with the Theodore Roosevelt Award at the NCAA Convention in Grapevine, Texas. University President Eric Kaler and Athletics Director Norwood Teague will be on hand, with Kaler making the presentation.

The award is considered the NCAA's highest honor, given annually to an individual whose time as a collegiate athlete helped shape "a distinguished career of national significance and achievement."

“We are proud and honored to call Tony Dungy an alumnus of the University of Minnesota,” Kaler said in a news release. “Tony personifies what we seek to instill in our classrooms and on our playing fields: innovative thinking, influential teaching and inspirational leadership. The entire University of Minnesota community takes great joy in this remarkable tribute to one of our own.”

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