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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Minnesota
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  10/28/20 - Tanner MorganrJr/2022, Minnesota, 6-2, 215 (DS#5 QB) + More +

  Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan blames himself first for the 49-24 loss to Michigan this past Saturday. Even though it was offensive coordinator Mike Sanford Jr.'s first game at the helm, even though starting offensive linemen Daniel Faalele and Curtis Dunlap Jr., were out for undisclosed reasons, even though it was the first game in a delayed-but-breakneck Big Ten season, Morgan would readily take sole responsibility for the disappointing show. "At the end of the day, things run through me," Morgan said Tuesday. "And I have to be better for our team to be successful, and I will be." Morgan completed 18-of-31 passes for 197 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

The cobbled-together O-line allowed five sacks on Morgan, though the quarterback generously said he could have avoided some of those with better pocket movement. The Gophers' first series looked pretty strong, but the execution fell off after that. Consistently implementing plays at a high level will be Morgan's focus before facing Maryland on the road Friday night - giving the Gophers one less day than usual to correct mistakes. "Looking at what happened is not an opportunity of, 'Woe is me,' because failure is quitting, and that's something that we'll never do," Morgan said. "...We're looking at it as an opportunity to take it and say, 'OK, how can I do better?' What do I need to do better? And how am I going to be better in that aspect?" - Minneapolis Star Tribune


(DS#5 QB) rJr/2022 QB Tanner MorganMinnesota
News Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
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  Judging by the schools that showed interest, Mariano Sori-Marin appeared bound for the Ivy League. The linebacker from Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox, Ill., caught the attention of Brown, Cornell, Harvard, Penn and Yale in 2017, and his cerebral approach looked like a good fit with any of those schools. "I like studying," Sori-Marin said. "People think of me as a little bit of a nerd sometimes in academics, and that translates over to football." One person's nerd is another person's student of the game, and that's what Gophers coach P.J. Fleck and his staff found when they recruited Sori-Marin. Three years later, the emerging leader will play a key role for a Minnesota defense hit hard by graduation. "We expect big things out of him, and I know he expects big things out of himself," said Fleck, whose 21st-ranked Gophers open their coronavirus-delayed season Saturday night against No. 18 Michigan at TCF Bank Stadium.

"If there's one person that's going to put more pressure on himself than me, it's going to be Mariano." With three-year starter Thomas Barber graduated and Kamal Martin off to the Green Bay Packers, the Gophers must replace a duo that combined for 429 tackles over the past three seasons. Sori-Marin, a 6-3, 245-pound junior, started seven games last year and showed the versatility to play the Mike (middle), Will (weakside) and Sam (strongside) positions. "Learning from guys like Thomas Barber and Kamal, who were exceptional students of the game - constantly doing film study, teaching me things - I was able to take that and help accelerate my game," said Sori-Marin, whose 42 tackles are most among any returning Gophers linebacker. - Minneapolis Star Tribune


(DS#999 ILB) Jr/2022 ILB Mariano Sori-MarinMinnesota
News Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
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  10/19/20 - Chris Autman-BellrJr/2022, Minnesota, 6-0, 215 (DS#65 WR) + More +

  Playing Robin to Bateman's Batman will be Autman-Bell, a junior with a knack for big-game heroics. His incredible toe-tapping TD catch to force OT against Fresno State and his tunnel screen TD against Penn State were two of the most impactful plays for the Gophers in 2019. Look for an increase on his stats from last year (28 catches, 371 yards, five TDs). - Minneapolis Star Tribune

(DS#65 WR) rJr/2022 WR Chris Autman-BellMinnesota
News Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
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  10/19/20 - Tanner MorganrJr/2022, Minnesota, 6-2, 215 (DS#5 QB) + More +

  For the second consecutive Gophers home game, the eyes of the college football world will be on TCF Bank Stadium. ESPN announced Saturday night that its "College GameDay" preview show will visit the University of Minnesota on Saturday for the season opener between the No. 24 Gophers and No. 19 Michigan, which will be a national broadcast on ABC (KSTP-Ch. 5) at 6:30 p.m. At stake for the Gophers and Wolverines will be the Little Brown Jug, a trophy that dates to 1903. "College GameDay," which will air from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, visited the university for the first time in last year's regular-season finale, a 38-17 loss to Wisconsin. There will be a much different feel for the visit this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Last Nov. 30, fans packed the Northrop Mall to see Rece Davis, Desmond Howard, Kirk Herbstreit, guest picker Eric Decker and Lee Corso break down the Gophers vs. Badgers. This year, fans won't be permitted to attend the show, and the set location inside TCF Bank Stadium won't allow for public viewing. - Minneapolis Star Tribune

(DS#5 QB) rJr/2022 QB Tanner MorganMinnesota
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  10/19/20 - Boye MaferJr/2022, Minnesota, 6-4, 260 (DS#12 DE) + More +

  With Carter Coughlin in the NFL, Mafe is poised to step in as the Gophers' top pass rusher. The athletic 6-4, 260-pounder has NFL-like attributes such as a 40½-inch vertical jump and a 4.57-second 40-yard dash. Mafe had 14 tackles, 3½ tackles for loss and three sacks last year, and those stats should increase in his junior season. - Minneapolis Star Tribune

(DS#12 DE) rJr/2022 DE Boye MafeMinnesota
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  10/07/20 - Demetrius DouglasrJr/2022, Minnesota, 6-0, 195 (DS#79 WR) + More +

  With another Gophers player opting out of the season Monday, coach P.J. Fleck warned more could follow before the Oct. 24 opener. Receiver and returner Demetrius Douglas announced his decision on Twitter, writing he first decided to not play when the Big Ten canceled its season in August. While the conference reversed that call, Douglas stayed on his course. Douglas, who grew up in Wayzata and is the son of former Gopher and NFL receiver Omar Douglas, returned both punts and kickoffs and was also the first receiver rotated in last season, often for long third- and fourth-down attempts. Douglas would have been the No. 3 receiver behind Rashod Bateman and Chris Autman-Bell, leaving that third slot open for players such as Seth Green and promising freshmen Douglas Emilien and Daniel Jackson. - Minneapolis Star Tribune

(DS#79 WR) rJr/2022 WR Demetrius DouglasMinnesota
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  10/02/20 - *Rashod BatemanJr/2021, Minnesota, 6-1, 210 (DS#2 WR) + More +

  For nearly two weeks this summer, Rashod Bateman's head and body ached, altering between chills and night sweats. Like a bad flu, but with the disconcerting addition of losing his sense of taste and smell. The Gophers star receiver was one of the coronavirus pandemic's victims. He didn't know how he contracted COVID-19 because he'd tried to be cautious. But he had taken a California trip on a break from voluntary workouts, and a test later confirmed he and some others who traveled were positive. "Just being scared and not knowing what it can do to my body because nobody really had any answers," Bateman said Thursday. "And then I just felt like it wasn't safe to play football this year after going through that." Bateman has asthma, which made the experience even scarier. It took a couple of days after his sickness to begin feeling normal, and it was enough for him to decide to opt out of the 2020 football season Aug. 4. - Minneapolis Star Tribune

(DS#2 WR) Jr/2021 WR *Rashod BatemanMinnesota
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  09/30/20 - *Rashod BatemanJr/2021, Minnesota, 6-1, 210 (DS#2 WR) + More +

  University of Minnesota receiver Rashod Bateman's eligibility was restored by the NCAA and he is now able to compete for the Gophers this season. Bateman will wear No. 0 this season, becoming the first Gopher ever to do so. He is switching from No. 13 to No. 0 because there is zero tolerance for racism in Minnesota's culture and it is a call to action to end racism in our society. Bateman, who previously announced he was forgoing this season because of personal health concerns related to COVID-19, has played in 26 games for Minnesota and in two years has already established himself as one of the best receivers ever to wear the Maroon and Gold. He has 111 career catches (tied for 12th in school history) for 1,923 yards (tied for eighth in school history) and 17 touchdowns (tied for fifth in school history). - Minnesota Football

(DS#2 WR) Jr/2021 WR *Rashod BatemanMinnesota
News Source: Minnesota Football
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  09/24/20 - *Rashod BatemanJr/2021, Minnesota, 6-1, 210 (DS#2 WR) + More +

  When Rashod Bateman told his Gophers teammates he was coming back to campus in hopes of playing this season, they thought he was joking. "I didn't think it was a possibility," running back Mohamed Ibrahim said in a Tuesday video news conference. "… So just understanding that he can come back, that was a big boost to the whole team." Can, but not necessarily will, as Bateman's second go at a collegiate career is still foggy. Much like the Big Ten Conference as a whole, Bateman changed his mind. The reigning Big Ten Receiver of the Year opted out of the 2020 season on Aug. 4, citing health concerns for playing during the coronavirus pandemic. The conference later canceled all fall sports Aug. 11 but then reversed that decision last week, setting up a delayed fall season to start Oct. 24.

New safety measures, including daily testing, influenced Bateman to decide to play instead of focusing on the 2021 NFL draft, where he is a projected first-round pick. But his path back to college football isn't as simple as just returning to the team. Bateman is one of several players across the country in the NCAA's Student-Athlete Reinstatement process to regain his remaining two years of eligibility. When he signed with an agent and accepted benefits - including money for housing, transportation and training the past six weeks - that terminated his amateur status, unless the NCAA grants him a special waiver. "There's going to be a lot of other things we have to do moving forward for him to be cleared, and that's down the road a little bit," Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said. "But he's doing everything he can to handle today, and that's all we told him to focus on. Just focus on today, continue to get better. And a lot of this is out of your control. But again, we know the right measures are being taken, that's for sure." - Minneapolis Star Tribune


(DS#2 WR) Jr/2021 WR *Rashod BatemanMinnesota
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  09/04/20 - Curtis Dunlap Jr.rSo/2023, Minnesota, 6-5, 345 (DS#7 OG) + More +

  Gophers offensive lineman Curtis Dunlap Jr. has removed his name from the NCAA transfer portal, a source confirmed Wednesday. Dunlap, a Jacksonville, Fla., native, had tweeted Tuesday that he wanted to be closer to home. He was an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection for the Gophers last season as a redshirt freshman. - Minneapolis Star Tribune

(DS#7 OG) rSo/2023 OG Curtis Dunlap Jr.Minnesota
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  08/26/20 - *Rashod BatemanJr/2021, Minnesota, 6-1, 210 (DS#2 WR) + More +

  Former Gophers' receiver Rashod Bateman was one of 23 players who earned preseason All-America honors from the Associated Press despite not actually playing in the fall. Bateman opted out of what would have been his junior season in early August before the Big Ten ultimately called off fall competition a week later. The reigning Big Ten Receiver of the Year planned to focus on the 2021 NFL Draft, where he is a projected first-round pick, possible going in the top 10. The Georgia native was a third-team AP All-America selection last season, amassing 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns on 60 catches. He made the second team in this preseason vote from the media. - Minneapolis Star Tribune

(DS#2 WR) Jr/2021 WR *Rashod BatemanMinnesota
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  08/18/20 - Tanner MorganrJr/2022, Minnesota, 6-2, 215 (DS#5 QB) + More +

  The Gophers finished the 2019 season at 11-2, a history-making year with big wins and big crowds. But the coronavirus pandemic seemed to detour that upward trajectory, first with Big Ten Receiver of the Year Rashod Bateman opting out to focus on the NFL draft and then with the canceled season. But with Jackson and Emilien as potential successors for Bateman and new NFLer Tyler Johnson, with Logan-Redding and Joyner new prospects on a nearly completely turned-over defensive line, the Gophers feel like they can easily find the main road again. Fleck said he thinks even in just a year from now, his deep team can accomplish another 11-win season or better.

That's a bold assertion, considering the unknowns of the upcoming season(s). The Gophers could end up playing in the spring - clashing with the NFL draft - and the fall, posing physical risks of playing two seasons in one calendar year. But not every eligible player is anticipating skipping a spring season for the draft, including senior wildcat quarterback Seth Green and Morgan himself. "Personally, that's not something I'm thinking about," Morgan said. "...I can't really think that far down the line with all the different other stuff because I'm fully 100 percent committed to being the best person, player and quarterback for the University of Minnesota that I can be. And if I worry about that stuff, then I can't fully commit to that." - Minneapolis Star Tribune


(DS#5 QB) rJr/2022 QB Tanner MorganMinnesota
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  08/17/20 - Tanner MorganrJr/2022, Minnesota, 6-2, 215 (DS#5 QB) + More +

  Quarterback Tanner Morgan was in the locker room preparing for a walkthrough with his Gophers teammates about a week ago, when players starting receiving texts from friends and family, consoling them for a canceled season. Morgan said his first reaction to hearing he wouldn't be playing football this fall was sadness at not being able to do something he has loved since age 6. But he echoed what Gophers coach P.J. Fleck said last week, about the players' belief that the Big Ten made the right call. "Everybody involved from our side at the University of Minnesota and the Big Ten, they did what was right," Morgan said. "...The Big Ten did what they thought was best for player health and safety, and I commend them for being the conference that actually put player health and safety first."

That decision hasn't earned unanimous praise, though. Parents from Iowa, Ohio State, Nebraska and Penn State have spoken out about their disagreement with the decision, sending letters to the conference demanding more transparency about how the conference came to that choice. Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields started an online petition asking the conference and Big Ten school administrators to reinstate the season, which has garnered more than 250,000 signatures since Sunday morning. - Minneapolis Star Tribune


(DS#5 QB) rJr/2022 QB Tanner MorganMinnesota
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  08/06/20 - Benjamin St-JusterSr/2021, Minnesota, 6-2, 200 (DS#50 CB) + More +

  A group of more than 1,000 Big Ten athletes took to The Players' Tribune on Wednesday to call for more protection playing amid the coronavirus pandemic. Gophers cornerback Benjamin St-Juste played a big role in this, as one of the founders of the group that penned the open letter, College Athlete Unity (CAU). "We have started a dialogue in good faith with the Big Ten and hope that the NCAA will follow suit," the article read. "Given the short time frame, and with our season at stake, this conversation must happen now." This came just hours after the Big Ten released its revised 10-game, conference-only football schedule and updated testing protocols, which require a minimum of two tests per week, one within three days of competition, for all high-risk sports. - Minneapolis Star Tribune

(DS#50 CB) rSr/2021 CB Benjamin St-JusteMinnesota
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  08/04/20 - *Rashod BatemanJr/2021, Minnesota, 6-1, 210 (DS#2 WR) + More +

  University of Minnesota receiver Rashod Bateman announced today that he is forgoing his remaining eligibility at Minnesota to focus on preparing for the 2021 NFL Draft. Bateman played in 26 games for Minnesota and in two years solidified himself as one of the best receivers ever to wear the Maroon and Gold. He ends his Minnesota career with 111 catches (tied for 12th in school history) for 1,923 yards (tied for eighth in school history) and 17 touchdowns (tied for fifth in school history). - Minnesota Football

(DS#2 WR) Jr/2021 WR *Rashod BatemanMinnesota
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