Hendrick Ekpe, Mitch Leidner and Jonah Pirsig have accepted invitations to play in January showcase games
Seven Gophers on defense and special teams were named All-Big Ten
Gophers have 15 members on its defensive line this spring
Gophers welcome back seven defensive linemen who saw action in at least nine games from last season
2016 • SENIOR SEASON: Played in all 12 games and started 11 • recorded 28 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and forced one fumble. Game-by-Game: Registered three tackles against Oregon State • started against Indiana State • recorded three tackles against Colorado State and one against Penn State • tallied four tackles against Iowa and one against Maryland • posted a career day against Rutgers with six tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks • tallied two tackles and forced one fumble against Illinois • recorded two tackles and .5 sack against Purdue • had one tackle against Nebraska • started against Northwestern • notched four tackles at Wisconsin • made one tackle against Washington State.
2015 • JUNIOR SEASON: Played 13 games, starting 11 • made 11 tackles, including 2.5 behind the line of scrimmage (all sacks) • broke up a pair of passes and recovered a fumble. Game-by-Game: Tallied a pair of tackles against TCU • registered a pass breakup at Colorado State • made a tackle and added a pass breakup against Ohio • started at Northwestern, but did not record a statistic • tallied one tackle, inluding .5 sack at Purdue • registered a tackle versus Nebraska • saw action but did not record a statistic versus Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin • tallied three tackles, one sack and recovered a fumble at Ohio State • registered two tackles, including a sack for five yards, at Iowa • notched a tackle versus Illinois • competed against Wisconsin and Central Michigan, but did not record a statistic.
2014 • SOPHOMORE SEASON: Played in 13 games, starting one • made 14 tackles, including 3.0 for a loss (1.5 sacks). Game-by-Game: Made five tackles, including one tackle-for-loss, against Eastern Illinois • totaled two tackles, including one sack, against Middle Tennessee • played at TCU • talled three tackles, one tackle-for-loss and .5 sack against San Jose State • played at Michigan, against Northwestern and against Purdue, but did not record any statistics • tallied two tackles at Illinois • assisted on one tackle against Iowa • saw action against Ohio State, at Nebraska and at Wisconsin • made one tackle against Missouri.
2013 • FRESHMAN SEASON: Played in 10 games • made 10 tackles, including one tackle-for-loss • named Outstanding Defensive Freshman of the Year. Game-by-Game: Made his Minnesota and collegiate debut against UNLV and recorded two tackles • registered two solo tackles at New Mexico State • played against Western Illinois, but did not record any statistics • made one tackle against San Jose State • made one tackle against Iowa and at Northwestern • competed against Nebraska • played against Penn State and Wisconsin, but did not record any statistics • made three solo tackles, including one tackle-for-loss against Syracuse.
HIGH SCHOOL: Attended Lewisville High School • was a three-year letterwinner • earned first-team All-District 8-5A in 2012 after being named honorable mention in 2010 • tallied 24 tackles, 2.5 sacks and recorded one fumble recovery as a senior in 2012 • made 26 tackles, 3.5 sacks and forced two fumbles as a junior • coached by Greg Miller • enrolled at the University of Minnesota in January 2013 and participated in spring practice • Scout.com listed him as a two-star recruit and as the No. 123 player at his position • Rivals.com named him a three-star prospect.
PERSONAL: Born June 30, 1995 • son of Joel and Edith Ekpe • older brother, Scott, is a defensive lineman for the Gophers.
Gopher Football: "Find Outs" 1-on-1 Drill
Watch Minnesota Football participate in the 1-on-1 "Find Outs" drill at spring practice earlier this week.
2017 Spring Preview: Receivers
Minnesota's youth at receiver - there is just one senior on the roster - will be tested in 2017. The Gophers return just four players who caught a pass last season.
Gopher Talk 101: HYPRR
What does Gopher Football head coach P.J. Fleck mean when he says "H.Y.P.R.R. Culture" and what do the letters stand for?