Steven Richardson and Rodney Smith were named to two separate preseason watch lists today
Carpenter named first team, while Richardson, Santoso and Smith receive second-team honors
Smith, Brooks look to lead potent Minnesota rushing game
Two seniors, one junior will lead the Gophers in 2017
Rodney Smith, Jonah Pirsig, Drew Wolitarsky and Shannon Brooks recognized by the Big Ten
CAREER: Has rushed 535 times (10th all-time in school history) for 2,373 yards (10th all-time in school history) in 32 games • scored 20 (2 in 2015; 16 in 2016 and 2 in 2017) career rushing touchdowns, which ranks tied for 11th in school history • career long 70-yard rushing touchdown came at Maryland in 2016 • has nine career 100-yard rushing games, which ranks tied for eighth in program history • rushed for a career high 153 yards against Purdue in 2016 • career long 94-yard kick return for a touchdown came against Rutgers in 2016 • had 257 all-purpose yards (111 rush, 27 receiving and 119 kick return) against Rutgers in 2016, which was the 12th most in school history and most since David Cobb had 233 against Michigan in 2014.
2017 • JUNIOR SEASON: Rushed 23 times for 76 yards against Buffalo and also made one catch • tied his career high with 30 carries and rushed for 92 yards and one touchdown at Oregon State, while also recording one catch for 22 yards • rushed 16 times for 107 yards (6.7 average) against Middle Tennessee and also returned one kickff for 40 yards • scored one touchdown and rushed for 35 yards on 18 carries against Maryland • carried the ball 21 times for 88 yards at Purdue and added four receptions for 25 yards • gained 44 yards on 11 carries against Michigan State • had 137 total yards (103 rush, 8 receiving, 26 kick return) against Illinois.
2016 • SOPHOMORE SEASON: Played in all 13 games and started 12 • rushed 240 times (tenth most in school history in a single season) for 1,158 yards (16th most in school history in a single season) and 16 touchdowns (third most in school history in a single season) • became 20th Gopher ever to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season • caught 23 passes for 188 yards • returned eight kickoffs for 263 yards, which included a 94-yard touchdown against Rutgers • recorded 1,609 all-purpose yards (12th most in school history in a single season) • scored 17 touchdowns (tied for second in school history in a single season) and tallied 102 points (tied for third most in school history in a single season) • named All-Big Ten Third Team by league coaches and media • named Offensive MVP of the Holiday Bowl after scoring one touchdown and recording 132 all-purpose yards • averaged 4.8 yards per carry • rushed for 100 yards in six games, which is tied for ninth in a single season • rushed for 100 yards in four straight games (Maryland, Rutgers, Illinois, Purdue) to become the first Gopher since David Cobb in 2013 to accomplish that feat. Game-by-Game: Started against Oregon State and rushed 25 times for a career high 125 yards and two touchdowns • carried the ball 17 times for 74 yards and one touchdown against Indiana State • gained 99 yards and scored two touchdowns on 17 carries against Colorado State • rushed 23 times for 104 yards at Penn State and added four receptions for 39 yards • gained 44 yards on 11 attempts against Iowa and returned two kicks for 58 yards • rushed for 144 yards on 18 carries and scored two touchdowns at Maryland • touchdowns at Maryland covered eight and 70 yards • gained 111 yards and scored one touchdown on 22 carries against Rutgers • also returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown against Rutgers • had 257 all-purpose yards (111 rush, 27 receiving and 119 kick return) against Rutgers, which was the 12th most in school history and most since David Cobb had 233 against Michigan in 2014 • rushed 20 times for 100 yards and two touchdowns at Illinois and added two receptions for 19 yards • scored three touchdowns and rushed for 153 yards on 24 carries against Purdue • rushed for 53 yards and one touchdown at Nebraska and also caught three passes for 17 yards • rushed for 32 yards against Northwestern • gained 45 yards rushing and 25 yards receiving at Wisconsin • rushed for 74 yards and one touchdown against Washington State.
2015 • FRESHMAN SEASON: Played in 12 games and started seven • rushed 157 times for 670 yards (sixth most ever for a freshman) and two touchdowns • caught 16 passes for 124 yards. Game-by-Game: Made his collegiate debut against TCU and carried the ball 16 times for 88 yards and one touchdown • did not have a negative rush against TCU as he averaged 5.5 yards-per-carry • his 88 yards against TCU were the most by a Gopher freshman running back making his collegiate debut since Thomas Hamner ran for 158 yards on 22 carries on Sept. 7, 1996, at Northeast Louisiana (Amir Pinnix also rushed for 88 yards on 17 carries as a freshman in his collegiate debut against Toledo on Sept. 4, 2004) • carried the ball 21 times for 108 yards, which included five carries for 24 yards in overtime, at Colorado State • became the first Gopher freshman running back to run for more than 100 yards since DeLeon Eskridge rumbled for 124 yards at Illinois in 2008 • carried the ball 30 times for 73 yards against Kent State • totaled 152 all-purpose yards (94 rushing and 58 receiving) against Ohio • rushed 11 times for 32 yards at Northwestern • carried the ball 13 times for 52 yards at Purdue and also caught three passes for 15 yards • rushed eight times for 20 yards against Nebraska • carried the ball 12 times for 74 yards (6.2 average) against Michigan's No. 1-ranked defense that entered the game allowing only 64.7 yards on the ground • caught one pass for 17 yards against Michigan • started at Ohio State, but was limited with an injury • missed the Iowa game with an injury • was limited with an injury against Illinois, but carried the ball two times for 11 yards • rushed seven times for 35 yards and one touchdown against Wisconsin • carried the ball 15 times for 74 yards and caught one pass for five yards against Central Michigan.
HIGH SCHOOL: Attended Mundy's Mill High School • helped lead his team to an 8-5 record, which was the best season in school history • team advanced to Class 5A quarterfinals • first team All-State honoree • rushed 261 times for 2,201 yards and 26 touchdowns • team started 0-4 and he rushed 63 times for 368 yards and four touchdowns in those games • team finished 8-1 and he rushed 198 times for 1,833 and 22 touchdowns • rushed for more than 100 yards in 11 games, more than 200 yards in four games and more than 300 yards in two games • also caught five passes for 66 yards • rushed 172 times for 1,575 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior before suffering a season-ending injury • caught six passes for 55 yards • amassed 4,002 all-purpose yards (3,776 rushing, 121 receiving and 105 on kick returns) during his last two years of high school • football coach was Gregory Manior, while his father, Patrick Smith, was his offensive coordinator and baseball coach • high school teammate of Gopher linebacker Jonathan Celestin • was a standout baseball player, as he was named Clayton Player of the Year by the Clayton Daily News and was voted Region 4-AAAAA Player of the Year by the region's coaches • played second base and shortstop and batted .587 with 12 RBI and 37 hits at leadoff • scored 27 runs and was 22 of 23 on stolen bases • ranked as a three-star recruit by ESPN, 247Sports and Scout, while Rivals gave him two stars • listed as the No. 80 running back in the nation by 247Sports and as the 110th best player in Georgia.
PERSONAL: Born Feb. 28, 1996 • son of Patrick and Essie Smith.
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.