Craig James, who played for the Gophers the past two years as a cornerback and punt returner, is transferring out of the program, a person familiar with his plans confirmed to the Star Tribune.
James, a sophomore from Evansville, Ill., was the team's top punt returner as a true freshman last season. He played in five games this year, but struggled with his punt returns, and suffered a broken leg against Northwestern.
The Gophers are expected to have some other transfers, as well, as is typical for teams after the season.
"We’ll have a roster update right after the bowl game," coach Tracy Claeys said last week. "Obviously, every year, there are kids who want to know where they fit and what’s going on, and we’ll have those discussions, when we get back off the bowl game. But the kids have been great."
Claeys said transfers often come "at certain positions where only one can play or two can play at a time, and you have a bunch. And all I care is, I want to do what’s best for the kids, when it’s all said and done."
More coaching updates
New Southern Illinois coach Nick Hill continues to load his staff with coaches who have ties to this Gophers staff. Hill, who played quarterback for Jerry Kill at Southern Illinois, has added Gophers graduate assistant Trevor Olson as the offensive line coach. And he's also close to adding Gophers offensive quality control coach Nate Griffin as tight ends coach.
Like Olson, Griffin has played a key behind-the-scenes role. Last season, David Cobb credited Griffin for keeping him at Minnesota with key words of advice when Cobb looked buried on the depth chart earlier in his career.
According to a source, Hill is also close to naming Melvin Rice as the Salukis defensive coordinator. Rice spent four years as a defensive quality control assistant for the Gophers before becoming the cornerbacks coach at Southeast Missouri last January.
Note: I got asked about this today on my flight home, but yes, I fully expect Tracy Claeys to name defensive backs coach Jay Sawvel as new defensive coordinator. That was clear last month.