The Gophers have two redshirt freshman placekickers looking to replace departing senior Chris Hawthorne this season. On Sunday, coach Jerry Kill said, “I think we’ll use both.”
Ryan Santoso has the more powerful leg, but Andrew Harte has dead aim from close range. At Montini Catholic High School, in Lombard Ill., Harte made 112 consecutive extra points, the nation’s second-longest recorded streak.
Santoso, an Under Armour All-America from Pace, Fla., nailed a 54-yard field goal with room to spare early in camp, but he has missed some kicks, too.
It sounds like Santoso will handle kickoff duties and field goal attempts beyond 40 yards, at least. Harte might be called upon for shorter field goal attempts and extra points.
“They’ve both done well,” Kill said. “And we’ll need them both.”
The Gophers will release their official injury report Tuesday, and it’s possible they’ll be without three starters for Thursday’s season opener against Eastern Illinois. Left tackle Ben Lauer, wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky and defensive end Michael Amaefula all missed practice time this month.
“I’m not concerned; we’ll be fine,” Kill said. “The only concerns I have is if somebody’s out for 10 weeks, 12 weeks, the season. But I can be honest with you; I’m not even counting them out for this game.”
Taking it slow
The Gophers seem in no hurry to thrust their true freshmen receivers into action, a list includes Melvin Holland Jr., Isaiah Gentry, Desmond Gant, Conner Krizancic and Jerry Gibson, who is playing both tight end and wide receiver.
“We’ll redshirt a couple, we’ll carry a couple for a while,” Kill said. “It’s a learning curve. Their heads are still spinning. … But there are certainly athletic skills there, no question about that. We’ve got some guys who can run.”