Twenty-one true freshmen will take the field for the Gophers on Friday, when the team opens practice. It's always interesting to hear what the veterans say after working with the newcomers during summer workouts. Here are some snippets:
Cody Poock on incoming linebackers Thomas Barber, Carter Coughlin and Kamal Martin:
"Barber came in the spring – he’ll hit you. He’s funny. He’s good. The other two can run. I think Carter’s the fastest linebacker now, and Kamal’s up there as well, but they can run. They’re pretty fast, and we’ll have to see, but they’ve got the instincts to go with all their intangibles. It should be awesome to see them grow."
Drew Wolitarsky on incoming receiver Tyler Johnson, from Minneapolis North:
"He has great focus first of all. You can tell when a freshman comes in and doesn’t really pay attention, you know, thinks they know everything, and that’s kind of usual. But he came in and looked us in the eye when we introduced ourselves, took notes when we were doing film, really just paid attention to the small little details during individual period. And when he got out to team [drills], I think he has a 60-inch vert [vertical leap]. I mean, I swear, he jumps like a gazelle. But anyway, he would make plays, and just very poised, very comfortable confident kid. He’ll do great things here no doubt."
Jalen Myrick on incoming cornerbacks Antoine Winfield Jr., Kiondre Thomas and Coney Durr:
"Those young guys -- I like them. I like Antoine, I like Kiondre, and I like Coney. Even a step above that, our redshirt freshman Ray Buford and our sophomores like KiAnte [Hardin] and Antonio Shenault. I’m just excited to see those guys perform in camp. ... Kiondre -- he’s a fast guy, too. He's long. He’s much more taller than me [listed at 6-foot], so I’m excited to see him play."
Note: Friday's practice is closed, but Saturday's practice is open to the public. It's scheduled to start at 10 a.m., at the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex.