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Fleck wins regional honor from football coaches association

Gophers coach P.J. Fleck earned another honor Tuesday.

The American Football Coaches Association named Fleck its FBS Region 3 Coach of the Year, alongside Clemson's Dabo Swinney, LSU's Ed Orgeron, Baylor's Matt Rhule and Utah's Kyle Whittingham. All are finalists for the National Coach of the Year award, announced at the AFCA convention in Nashville on Jan. 14.

Fleck has already won the coaches' Big Ten Coach of the Year award and is a finalist for the George Munger College Coach of the Year Award. He led the No. 18 Gophers to a 10-2 record, including a 10-win regular season for the first time since 1905 and seven conference wins for the first time in program history.

Also Tuesday, Fleck is one of eight finalists for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award from the Football Writers Association of America. The FWAA will announced the winner Jan. 11 in New Orleands ahead of the national championship game.

Additionally, Fleck is one of five finalists for the Dodd Trophy, which honors coaches for their on-field and off-field accomplishments. The award ceremony is in Atlanta for the Dec. 28 Peach Bowl.

The Gophers will face No. 12 Auburn in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 in Tampa, Fla.

Two more Gophers plan to transfer; Fleck an award finalist

Defensive back C.J. Smith has decided to transfer this offseason, announcing his departure on Twitter on Monday.

The Florida native was a three-star recruit in the Gophers 2018 class, redshirting his first season. The 6-1, 185-pound safety did not see any action this year.

It also sounds like receiver Harry Van Dyne has entered the NCAA transfer portal. The 6-5, 200-pound Kansas native redshirted 2017 and did not play in 2018. He played against Maryland and Rutgers this year, catching one 39-yard pass. He was a three-star recruit.

He joins offensive linemen Ben Davis, who will be a graduate transfer, and Nate Umlor. Umlor has already announced his next program as Grand Valley State, a DII program in his Michigan hometown.

In other news, offensive lineman Blaise Andries and defensive tackle Sam Renner made the Academic All-America Division I Football Team. Andries is a mathmatics major and Renner is studying for his master's of accountancy.

And also, Gophers coach P.J. Fleck is one of six finalists for the George Munger Collegiate Coach of the Year Award. 

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