Steven Richardson, a true freshman from Chicago, has played himself into the Gophers defensive tackle rotation, right behind starters Cameron Botticelli and Scott Ekpe, defensive line coach Jeff Phelps said Wednesday.
The way the Gophers rotate defensive linemen, the 6-foot, 291-pound Richardson likely will see regular playing time.
“He’s big enough, strong enough, fast enough to do what we want to do up front,” Phelps said. “That’s why we recruited him.”
The Gophers liked their defensive tackle depth last year when they had Ra’Shede Hageman and Botticelli starting, with Ekpe and Roland Johnson rotating behind them. Hageman and Johnson graduated, with Hageman becoming a second-round pick for the Falcons.
“At defensive tackle, we’re solid with three [Botticelli, Ekpe and Richardson], and we’re looking for who’s four or five,” Phelps said. “It’s been a great competition.”
Phelps listed Robert Ndondo-Lay, Yoshoub Timms, Demaris Peppers and Harold Legania as players who could work their way into the defensive tackle rotation.
Ndondo-Lay also plays defensive end. The Gophers like his pass-rushing ability and want to see if he can be an every-down player.
Oseland commits to U
The Gophers continued adding big offensive linemen to their 2015 recruiting class, when they landed a commitment from Quinn Oseland, a 6-6, 307-pound tackle from Springfield, Ill.
Oseland, a consensus three-star recruit, told GopherIllustrated.com that he had narrowed his choices to Minnesota, Illinois and Oklahoma State. He also had reported offers from Oregon, Michigan State and Mississippi State, among others.
Oseland is the Gophers’ 10th commitment for 2015, and the fourth offensive lineman, joining Red Wing’s Nick Connelly (6-7, 260) Chaska’s Bronson Dovich (6-5, 283) and Ted Stieber, from Akron, Ohio (6-6, 295).
DeLaSalle lineman Drayton Carlberg recently narrowed his list to six schools, including Minnesota and Oregon. But with the Oseland commitment, the Gophers are likely done on the offensive line.