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Former Gophers quarterback recruit chooses Virginia

Brennan Armstrong, the three-star quarterback from Shelby, Ohio, who had given a verbal commitment to the Gophers in February before reopening his recruiting last month, announced Monday that he has committed to Virginia.

“After a long process and tons of emotion, I have decided it is in the best interest to decommit from The University of Minnesota. With that being said, I will now be committing to The University of Virginia to further my education and athletic career!’’ Armstrong posted on Twitter. “I will be shutting down my recruitment.’’

With the Dec. 20-22 early signing period approaching, the Gophers do not have a quarterback committed for the Class of 2018, though they offered several. Among those are Vic Viramontes of Riverside (Calif.) City College, a transfer from California. Viramontes, a 6-2, 230-pound freshman, has passed for 1,575 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushed for 1,336 yards and 21 TDs for Riverside. The Tigers advanced to the Southern California Football Association championship and will play Fullerton College on Saturday. Viramontes rushed for 126 yards and five TDs and passed for 332 yards and two TDs in a 42-34 semifinal win over Ventura College.

“We’re looking at all quarterbacks right now for 2018,’’ Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said on WCCO Radio on Sunday. “I’d like to be able to take more than one, possibly, but we have other needs that we need to get to. … If it is a junior college quarterback, I usually don’t like to take guys that only have two years. He’s going to have to have more than two years. We’ll look at all options.’’

Other quarterbacks to whom the Gophers recently have given offers are Holton Ahlers of Greenville, N.C.; Matthew Baldwin of Austin, Texas; and Brevin White of Lancaster, Calif.

For next season, the Gophers’ returnees at quarterback include current starter Demry Croft (junior next season), Tanner Morgan (redshirt freshman) and Seth Green (sophomore).

Armstrong has led Shelby to a 13-0 record and a Division IV region title in Ohio for the first time in school history. He was suspended for the season’s first three games because of a code of conduct violation resulting from attending a party last spring in which alcohol was present. He has denied drinking alcohol at the party.

Gophers without top receiver Tyler Johnson on rainy, windy day at Northwestern

Good morning from a rainy, windy and chilly Ryan Field, where the Gophers will battle Northwestern in an 11 a.m. game. Temperatures are expected to be around 40, with rain continuing and a north wind of 20 to 30 miles per hour, with gusts up to 40.

Gophers sophomore Tyler Johnson, the team’s leading receiver, is not among the dressed receivers in pregame drills. KSTP and GopherIllustrated reported that Johnson broke his left wrist during last week’s game against Nebraska and will miss the final two games of the regular season.

Johnson, a former Minneapolis North standout, leads the Gophers with 35 receptions for 677 yards and seven touchdowns. His 19.3 yards per reception leads the Big Ten and ranks 17th nationally. He has three 100-yard receiving games this season, and his 67.7 receiving yards per game ranks fifth in the Big Ten.

With Johnson out, the Gophers could rely on redshirt freshman Phillip Howard, the team’s third-leading receiver with 11 catches for 132 yards, along with senior Eric Carter, redshirt freshman Mark Williams and junior Rashad Still, who is listed as Johnson’s backup. Still was lined up with the first team in pregame drills, as was redshirt freshman Drew Hmielewski.

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