The Gophers will bring back six wide receivers who lettered in 2013
In this episode, we profile two of the breakout stars of last year's Gopher team, David Cobb and Damien Wilson.
Brian Anderson is in his sixth season as an assistant coach on the Gopher Football staff. He serves as wide receivers coach after leading the Gophers' running backs from 2011-2013.
Minnesota receivers flourished under Anderson in 2015. Sixteen different Gophers - seven of them receivers - combined to catch 251 passes for 2,793 yards and 15 touchdowns. The 251 receptions were the most by a Minnesota team since 2008 when it had 258. Gopher receivers combined to catch 158 passes (62.9%) last season for 1,794 yards (64.2%) and 12 touchdowns (80%).
Anderson coached senior KJ Maye to a record-breaking season in 2015. Maye, who started his Minnesota career as a running back, caught 73 passes for 773 yards and five touchdowns. His 73 receptions rank second all-time (most ever for a senior) in a single-season behind Eric Decker's 84 receptions in 2008 and his 773 yards are the most for a Gopher since Decker had 1,074 in 2008. Maye signed a rookie free-agent contract with the New York Giants.
In 2015, Anderson also oversaw the emergence of Drew Wolitarsky, Eric Carter and Rashad Still. Wolitarsky caught 39 passes for 524 yards and three scores, as he and Maye were the first Gopher receivers to each have 500 yards receiving in the same season since 2010 (Da'Jon McKnight, 750, and MarQueis Gray, 587).
Carter became a reliable target for the Gophers and caught 23 passes for 255 yards and one score. Still, who played as a true freshman, caught 18 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns.
Under Anderson's direction in 2014, Isaac Fruechte recorded Minnesota's first 100-yard receiving game since 2012. He caught three passes for 105 yards at Illinois, and finished the season with 18 receptions for 292 yards (16.2-yard average) in a run-heavy offense.
Fruechte, who signed a free agent contract with the Minnesota Vikings, was complimented by Maye, as the Alabama-native (16 receptions for 298 yards) emerged as a threat in the passing game.
In 2013, Anderson helped produce the Gophers' first 1,000-yard running back since 2006. In 13 games, junior David Cobb rushed for 1,202 yards to become the first back to rush for more than 1,000 yards (and 1,200 yards) since Amir Pinnix. In 2012, Anderson coached Donnell Kirkwood, who churned out 926 yards during his redshirt sophomore year.
Anderson coached tight ends at Northern Illinois for three years and coached wide receivers and kick returners at Southern Illinois from 2001-07.
Prior to joining Southern Illinois, Anderson coached at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College from 1997-2000. At Coffeyville, three of his student-athletes went on to play in the National Football League. Anderson also coached for two seasons at Highland Community College in Kansas (1996-97).
He began his coaching career at Western Illinois, serving as a student assistant in 1994, before coaching wide receivers in 1995-96.
Anderson's playing career began at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa. At Ellsworth, Anderson took part in the 1988 Royal Crown Cola Bowl and the 1989 Mid-American Bowl, that season's NJCAA national championship game. He then moved on to Western Illinois, where he lettered as a wide receiver in 1991 and 1992.
Anderson holds a bachelor's degree from Western Illinois. He and his wife Kerri have a daughter, Annabelle.
THE ANDERSON FILE
2014-present: Minnesota - Wide Receivers
2011-2013: Minnesota - Running Backs
2008-10: Northern Illinois - Tight Ends
2001-07: Southern Illinois - Wide Receivers/Returners
1997-00: Coffeyville Community College - Wide Receivers/Returners
1996-97: Highland Community College - Wide Receivers/Passing Game Coordinator
1995-96: Western Illinois - Wide Receivers
Western Illinois (Wide Receiver), 1990-92
Ellsworth C.C. (Wide Receiver), 1988-90
B.A., Western Illinois, 1994
Rockford West, 1998
January 23, 1969
McCrary, Gophers Run Past Illinois 24-17
Kobe McCrary rushed for 153 yards and Jonathan Celestin added an interception return for a touchdown as Minnesota beat Illinois, 24-17.
Elite Access: Minnesota Preps for BTN Tailgate!
Go behind the scenes of BTN Tailgate on Set-Up Day -- the BTN pregame show is coming to Minneapolis for Gophers-Fighting Illini!
The Gophers have 43 players from Minnesota on the current roster. Head coach P.J. Fleck has made it a mission to lock up recruiting within a six to eight hour radius of the Twin Cities.