Minnesota has only eight defensive lineman on its spring roster, but one of those eight could be one of the nation’s most impactful players.
Senior defensive tackle Steven Richardson leads the group and has the potential to be one of the elite players at his position this during the 2017 season. The 6-0, 300-pound Richardson proved to be a disruptive force last season despite facing multiple double-teams. He played in all 13 games – started 11 – and finished the year with 31 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and seven sacks. The Academic All-Big ten selection also forced two fumbles, recovered two fumbles and broke one pass while being named All-Big Ten Third Team.
Alongside Richardson is Andrew Stelter, who will also be a senior in the fall. The Owatonna, Minn., native started five of the 13 games he played in last season and ended the year with 18 tackles, three tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Like Richardson, Stelter was also named Academic All-Big Ten.
Merrick Jackson will be a redshirt senior this fall after spending his first season in the Maroon and Gold in 2016. The junior college transfer played in 12 games last year and totaled eight tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack. He also notched a safety at Illinois, which was Minnesota’s first since 2012.
Jerry Gibson and Gary Moore will be redshirt juniors in the fall and will be looking for an expanded role. Gibson, who converted from tight end to defensive end during the 2015 season, played in four games last season and made two tackles. Moore also played in four games and tallied two tackles.
Winston DeLattiboudere and Sam Renner will be redshirt sophomores during the 2017 season. DeLattiboudere shared Defensive Work Team Player of the Year honors with Moore in 2015, but emerged as a starter at the end last season. He started five of the 13 games he played in and made 15 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Renner redshirted in 2015, but did not see action last year.
Tai'yon Devers is an explosive end who will be a sophomore next season. He erupted onto the scene as a freshman by recording three sacks and three forced fumbles in his first two games. He ended the year making five tackles in 11 games.
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Vote O’Brien for Uplifting Athletes Award
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