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Continued: Gophers receivers are short on stats but long on confidence

He played two years at Winona State, leading the team in receiving as a sophomore, and the thought of playing for the Gophers never left his mind.

“I knew it was always an option,” Engel said. “After a while, I just thought, it’s either now or never, so I might as well take a shot at this thing. So that’s what I did.”

Engel transferred to Minnesota and sat out the 2011 season under NCAA rules. Last year, he gradually climbed the depth chart as other receivers fell off. Jamel Harbison tore up a knee, A.J. Barker thrived for a while before quitting, and Andre McDonald missed the Meineke Car Care Bowl because of a violation of team rules.

Suddenly, Engel emerged as quarterback Philip Nelson’s go-to guy in the bowl game, catching four passes for 108 yards against Texas Tech. Heading into spring practice, he bulked up from 175 pounds to 187, and he said he was able to maintain his speed.

“I’ve definitely accomplished some of my goals, but I’m not done yet,” Engel said. “I’m not satisfied. I want to keep getting better and keep seeing where football takes me.”





 

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    Monday August 12, 2013

    Gophers TargetsHere are the leaders among returning wide receivers for the Gophers, along with their 2012 statistics:Player Rec. Yards TD LongIsaac Fruechte 19 256 2 34Derrick Engel 18 375 1 42KJ Maye 11 49 0 13Andre McDonald 10 121 0 26Others...

  • Derrick Engel was the go-to guy for Gophers quarterback Philip Nelson in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, catching four passes for 108 yards.

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