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.

• 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.

• 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

Houston 1 FINAL
Miami 1
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Minnesota 7
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Detroit 4
Baltimore - WP: T. Wilson 10 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Baker 2
Boston 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Toronto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 8
Atlanta 5 FINAL
Toronto 3
Washington 2 FINAL
NY Mets 10
Chicago Cubs 5 FINAL
Cincinnati 9
San Diego 3 FINAL
Texas 2
San Francisco 9 FINAL
Seattle 8
Colorado 4 Bottom 7th Inning
Chicago Cubs 14
Cleveland 3 FINAL
Milwaukee 2
Oakland 10 FINAL
Chicago WSox 4
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
LA Angels 4
Kansas City 8 Bottom 7th Inning
Arizona 5
Atlanta 31 2nd Qtr 8:31
Charlotte 38
New York 7:00 PM
Chicago
Golden State 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
Oklahoma City 8:00 PM
Utah
Denver 9:00 PM
Portland
Nashville 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Arizona 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 2
Anaheim 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 0 FINAL
Detroit 4
New Jersey 1 1st Prd 1:45
Carolina 0
Florida 0 1st Prd 5:27
Montreal 0
Ottawa 0 1st Prd 2:42
Toronto 0
Los Angeles 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Columbus 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 8:00 PM
Colorado
Dallas 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Arizona 48 2nd Half 11:52
Wisconsin 52
Canisius 0 1st Half 18:14
NJIT 0
Notre Dame 7:49 PM
Kentucky
San Jose 1 FINAL
New England 2
Orlando City 2 FINAL
Montreal 2
Los Angeles 0 1st Half 16:00
D.C. 0
Sporting Kansas City 1 1st Half 17:00
New York City 0
Red Bull New York 0 1st Half 44:55
Columbus 0
Portland 7:00 PM
Vancouver FC
Colorado 7:30 PM
Houston
Seattle 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Texas 54 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 105
Dayton 82 FINAL
(8) Louisville 66
(16) Duke 55 FINAL
(4) Maryland 65
Gonzaga 28 1st Half 3:42
(6) Tennessee 26
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 your favorite team in the NCAA men's hockey tournament?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close