Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.

Email Joe to talk about the Gophers.

Posts about Gophers awards and honors

Hageman named third-team All-America by AP

Posted by: Joe Christensen Updated: December 17, 2013 - 3:58 PM

Another day, another honor for Gophers defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman. The senior was named a third-team All-America on Tuesday by the Associated Press.

Hageman is the first AP All-America for the Gophers since tight end Matt Spaeth was named to the first team in 2006.

For the full list of AP All-America slections, click here.

Vereen accepts invite to East-West Shrine Game

Posted by: Joe Christensen Updated: December 17, 2013 - 10:15 AM

Gophers defensive back Brock Vereen has accepted an invitation to play in the East-West Shrine Game, an annual showcase for college seniors heading into the NFL draft.

This year’s Shrine Game will be played at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Jan. 18 at 3 p.m. It will be televised on NFL Network.

Previously this month, Vereen received first-team All-Big Ten honors from the league’s coaches.

Hageman accepts invitation to play in Senior Bowl

Posted by: Joe Christensen Updated: December 16, 2013 - 2:50 PM

Gophers defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman has accepted an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl, an annual showcase for players heading into the NFL Draft.

According to the Gophers, Hageman is the team's first representative in the Senior Bowl since Mark Setterstrom in 2006.

The Senior Bowl made the announcement today on Twitter. This year's game will be played on Jan. 25, at 3 p.m., in Mobile, Ala., televised on NFL Network.

Earlier this month, Gophers coach Jerry Kill indicated that Gophers defensive back Brock Vereen likely will be playing in one of those postseason all-star games, too.

Hageman and Vereen were both named to ESPN.com's All-Big Ten team today, and Gophers tight end Maxx Williams was named to the web site's Big Ten All-Freshman Team.

Kill earns Regional Coach of the Year Award from AFCA

Posted by: Joe Christensen Updated: December 11, 2013 - 9:16 AM

Gophers coach Jerry Kill received a 2013 Regional Coach of the Year Award from the American Football Coaches Association on Tuesday, joining Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Missouri’s Gary Pinkel, Baylor’s Art Briles and Stanford’s David Shaw as one of the five selections from the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Those coaches will be recognized at the 2014 AFCA Convention on Jan. 14 in Indianapolis, where a National Coach of the Year selection will be made for each of the Association’s five divisions.

Minnesota State Mankato coach Aaron Keen also won a regional award for Division II, Bethel's Steve Johnson won a regional award for Division III. Here’s a complete list of the regional winners:

Football Bowl Subdivision
Region 1: Jimbo Fisher, Florida State University
Region 2: Gary Pinkel, University of Missouri
Region 3: Jerry Kill, University of Minnesota
Region 4: Art Briles, Baylor University
Region 5: David Shaw, Stanford University

Football Championship Subdivision
Region 1: Joe Moorhead, Fordham University &
Jack Cosgrove, University of Maine (tie)
Region 2: Jamey Chadwell, Charleston Southern University
Region 3: Dino Babers, Eastern Illinois University
Region 4: Craig Bohl, North Dakota State University
Region 5: Ron Roberts, Southeastern Louisiana University

Division II
Region 1: George Mihalik, Slippery Rock University
Region 2: Scott Maxfield, Henderson State University
Region 3: Bill Conley, Ohio Dominican University
Region 4: Josh Lynn, Eastern New Mexico University
Region 5: Aaron Keen, Minnesota State University-Mankato

Division III
Region 1: Mike Welch, Ithaca College
Region 2: Jim Monos, Lebanon Valley College
Region 3: Pete Fredenburg, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
Region 4: Tom Arth, John Carroll University
Region 5: Steve Johnson, Bethel (Minn.) University

NAIA
Region 1: Chris Oliver, Lindsey Wilson College
Region 2: Mike Woodley, Grand View University
Region 3: Larry Wilcox, Benedictine (Kan.) College
Region 4: Ross Cimpl, Dakota Wesleyan University
Region 5: Mike Van Diest, Carroll (Mont.) College

Hageman named Gophers MVP; Cobb named team's Offensive Player of the Year

Posted by: Joe Christensen Updated: December 8, 2013 - 2:31 PM

While waiting today’s bowl announcement, the Gophers held their annual team banquet and announced this year’s awards winners. Here’s a list, as compiled from Tweets from the @GopherFootball account:

Bronko Nagurski Award (MVP): Ra’Shede Hageman

Bruce Smith Award (outstanding offensive player): David Cobb

Carl Eller Award (outstanding defensive player): Ra'Shede Hageman

Bobby Bell Award (outstanding special teams player): Peter Mortell

Outstanding Offensive Freshmen of the Year: Donovahn Jones and Maxx Williams

Outstanding Defensive Freshman of the Year: Hank Ekpe

Wide Receiver of the Year: Derrick Engel

Offensive Back of the Year: David Cobb

Offensive Lineman of the Year: Zac Epping

Defensive Back of the Year: Brock Vereen

Linebacker of the Year: Aaron Hill

Defensive Lineman of the Year: Ra’Shede Hageman

Gary Tinsley Award (underdog): David Cobb

Neil Fredenburg Award (courage and love of the game): Aaron Hill

Butch Nash Award (competitive on field and in classroom): Jon Christenson

Paul Giel Award (honoring unselfishness, concern for the 'U'): Brock Vereen and Aaron Hill

Tony Dungy Character/Community Service Award: Chris Hawthorne

Work-Team Players of the Year: Jephte Matilus and Chris Wipson

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