Cornerbacks Vereen, Murray excite U coaches

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 27, 2013 - 11:43 PM

Michigan State has an All-America at one cornerback, in senior Darqueze Dennard, and another cornerback with that type of upside in sophomore Trae Waynes.

But heading into Saturday’s game in East Lansing, Mich., the Gophers feel pretty good about their two starting cornerbacks, too.

Senior Brock Vereen moved from safety to cornerback at midseason, when injuries began to eat into the team’s cornerback depth. NFL scouts have Vereen on their radar, knowing he’s a quick, versatile and intelligent player whose brother, Shane, is a running back for the New England Patriots.

And the Gophers continue to rave about the performance of sophomore cornerback Eric Murray.

“He’s gotten better as the year’s gone on,” coach Jerry Kill said. “We’ve got a lot of [NFL] general managers and people coming in to see Brock and Ra’Shede [Hageman], and every one of them goes, ‘Who’s that guy [Murray]?’

“Because he’s got length, he’s got strength and he can really run.”

Murray has handled himself well against several of the Big Ten’s top receivers, including Penn State’s Allen Robinson and Wisconsin’s Jared Abbrederis. Murray has yet to get an interception, but he has 44 tackles and nine pass breakups.

“We think Darqueze Dennard is the best corner in this conference,” Gophers defensive backs coach Jay Sawvel recently told ESPN.com. “I know Bradley Roby [Ohio State] gets a lot of publicity, and we think he’s really good, too. But outside of those two, we wouldn’t trade Eric for anybody in the conference.”

Thanksgiving plans

The Gophers will have a morning practice Thursday, followed by an early Thanksgiving feast. Kill said several of the players from Minnesota invited out-of-state teammates over to their houses for the rest of the day.

The menu for the team feast includes the usual Northern fare — turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing — along with some Southern dishes.

“We’re very cultured,” Kill said, laughing.

Dance marathon set

Gophers kicker Chris Hawthorne has organized a fund- raising event called the Unlimited Dance Marathon to benefit the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital.

The 12-hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon will take place Feb. 22-23 at Mariucci Arena. Hawthorne set a goal of raising $75,000 through donations and pledges for the participants.

“It’s been a lot of work, but it’s finally coming to fruition,” said Hawthorne, who’s received help from others throughout the athletics department. “We’re at $14,000 now. We still have a long way to go.”

To donate online, go to gophersports.com/ot/unlimited.html.

Etc.

•â€¯Gophers right guard Caleb Bak, who has missed the past two games with concussion symptoms, won’t play against Michigan State this weekend but could return for the bowl game.

•â€¯Gophers defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys is one of 40 nominees for the Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant coach.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 84 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 99 FINAL
Utah 90
Denver 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
TX A&M-CC 70 FINAL
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 66 FINAL
Alabama A&M 78
Southern U 59 FINAL
Alabama State 63
Prairie View 68 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 105
Texas 86 FINAL
Iowa State 89
Texas Southern 85 FINAL
Miss Valley St 84
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 59 FINAL
Auburn 48
(15) Nebraska 72 FINAL
(20) Iowa 78
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: Do you favor the plan for expanded athletic facilities at the U of M?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close