Gophers tight end Brandon Lingen caught his first two touchdown passes last week, enough for quarterback Mitch Leidner to draw comparisons to old friend Maxx Williams.

Heading into Saturday’s Nebraska game, Lingen knows that’s high praise.

“I don’t think I’m at that level yet,” he said. “I’ve got to keep getting better. And I don’t think one guy is going to be able to replace Maxx.”

Williams led the Gophers with 36 receptions for 569 yards and eight touchdowns as a third-year sophomore last season before declaring early for the NFL draft and being selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the second round.

Lingen, a second-year sophomore from Wayzata, is 1 inch taller than Williams, at 6-5, and similar in weight, at 247 pounds. Williams separated himself with speed and otherworldly pass-catching skills, but Leidner said Lingen’s skills are comparable.

“Don’t tell Maxx, but [Lingen’s] route running might be a little bit better, to be honest,” Leidner said.

Limegrover praised Lingen’s versatility as a blocker and a pass catcher, noting how tough that can make things for the defense.

“I don’t want to compare the two, but there were things we were able to do with Maxx that created mismatches, and Brandon is working himself into that same category,” Limegrover said.

Lingen has five of the team’s 26 receptions over the past two games. Those numbers could continue to rise.

Coach Jerry Kill said, “Lingen needs to get the ball.”