Offensive guard Curtis Dunlap Jr., who started three games for the Gophers this season and earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors in 2019, has entered his name into the transfer portal.
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck acknowledged Dunlap's decision during his weekly KFXN-FM radio show Tuesday. "The transfer portal is going to happen. It happens all over college football, it happens everywhere, and it happens in masses,'' Fleck said. "… Anybody who enters the portal, I stop commenting on them. That's kind of my policy. I wish him all the best, and I hope his future is really bright.''
Dunlap, a redshirt junior, started 16 games and played in 21 in his Gophers career. The 6-5, 345-pound Jacksonville, Fla., native was a four-star recruit in 2018 out of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Dunlap started 12 games in 2019, then missed the 2020 season because of an Achilles' tendon injury. This season, he started the first three games at right guard, against Ohio State, Miami (Ohio) and Colorado, and saw significant action against Bowling Green and Purdue. The past two games, Blaise Andries took over as the starter at right guard, moving from left tackle, and Dunlap factored into the offensive line rotation.
The Gophers have relied on their depth along the offensive line, often using seven linemen in a run-heavy formation. Dunlap's departure will cut into that depth, though with Andries, a fifth-year senior with junior eligibility; Conner Olson, a sixth-year senior; and Axel Ruschmeyer, a fourth-year junior, the Gophers have experience at guard.
"Next guy in,'' Fleck said. "We've got a lot of guys at that position who can play and who have started games, and they'll have their opportunity.''
Dunlap came to the Gophers in 2018 along with IMG Academy teammates Daniel Faalele, now the starting right tackle, and Zack Annexstad, a backup quarterback.
After originally committing to Florida in July 2018, Dunlap decommitted from the Gators on Dec. 5, 2017, following a coaching change. He took an official visit to Minnesota three days later and committed to the Gophers on Dec. 9, 2017.
This is the second time Dunlap has put his name in the transfer portal. He did so on Sept. 1, 2020, saying he wanted to play closer to his Jacksonville home, only to remove his name from the list the next day.
Morgan gets engaged
Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan used the bye week to work on his game and prepare for Saturday's game against Nebraska, but also made time for an important matter off the field.
He became engaged to his girlfriend, Sarah Becraft.
"It was the perfect time in the bye week, having a Saturday off,'' Morgan said. "We actually went and looked at rings together in July, and she picked one out. … It was really exciting. We got engaged in Victoria, Minn., where she grew up. It was really special. She's the woman I've always dreamed of and prayed for. She's the greatest gift God has given me in my life.''
Morgan credited Becraft for her support while his father, Ted, battled brain cancer that took his life on July 12.
"The way she loved my dad was really cool, really inspiring,'' Morgan said. "My dad knew she was the one probably before I did.''
Time to heal
The bye week came at a good time for Gophers wide receiver Chris Autman-Bell, who has battled a sprained ankle since training camp.
"I got some time to rehab, get it back going, get some treatment on it,'' he said. "The training staff was awesome, and I got some time to heal it up and get it right.''
The sprain is something Autman-Bell knows he'll have to live with for the rest of the season.
"It's kind of a weird injury,'' he said. "It's still sprained in a way, but it's a mind-set thing to me. I'll be fine. Just keep my mind positive and keep it going.''
North Dakota scheduled
The Gophers have added home games against North Dakota in 2028 and 2030, FBSchedules.com reported, citing a contract obtained from North Dakota.
The 2028 game against the Fighting Hawks, an FCS-level team, joins an already-announced home game against California. North Dakota is the only opponent so far slated for 2030.