The Gophers added a specialist to its 2021 roster, a walk-on transfer.
Daniel Sparks finished his true freshman season at Louisiana-Monroe where he handled kickoffs and punts. His 33 kickoffs went an average of about 53 yards, while his 30 punts averaged about 45 yards, including five of more than 50 yards. His longest was 63 yards.
The 6-6 Alabama native joins a Gophers team that has perennially struggled on special teams. Presumed COVID-19 absences sidelined several kickers and punters to start the season, forcing pooch and squib kicks from the still-injured default starter Brock Walker. The abysmal unit improved toward the end of the season when 26-year-old freshman Mark Crawford of Australia seemed to find his comfort zone, but his longest punt was still only 48 yards.