Aug. 17, 2015
One question that everyone wants answered in fall camp is, "Who is going to catch the ball?" this year for Minnesota.
It's a fair question, as the Gophers lost three of their top four receiving threats to the NFL in tight end Maxx Williams (Baltimore Ravens), receiver Isaac Fruechte (Minnesota Vikings) and running back David Cobb (Tennessee Titans) this past offseason. The trio accounted for 70 catches (55 percent of the team total), 1,023 yards (55 percent of the team total) and nine touchdowns (75 percent of the team total) from last year.
Minnesota has long spread around its passing game to include tight ends, running backs and fullbacks, but this year it compliments the receivers a little bit more.
KJ Maye is the team's leading returning receiver, as he hauled in 16 catches last year for 298 yards and one touchdown. He should be complimented by Drew Wolitarsky who caught 10 passes in eight games last year for 106 yards. The only other receiver on the 2015 roster who caught a pass last year is Eric Carter, who snagged one catch for four yards at TCU.
Coach Kill and his staff redshirted Melvin Holland Jr., Isaiah Gentry and Desmond Gant last season, despite Kill saying that they could have played a year ago. Now with four years of eligibility remaining, all three pose big-threat possibilities and will get an opportunity to showcase what they can do. Holland is a 6-3, 196-pound receiver from Ashburn, Va., who can hit top speed quickly after catching the pass, while Gentry is a long-strider who is a deep threat at 6-4, 206 pounds. Gant is bigger than both at 6-3, 214 pounds and is an athlete who is capable of making plays after a catch.
Local product Jeff Jones is also ready to make his debut this year after redshirting last season. Jones, who is 6-0, 209 pounds, switched from running back to receiver this year and has displayed capable hands and skill after making a catch.
The Gophers also welcomed two freshman standouts this year in Rashad Still and Hunter Register. Still is lanky at 6-5, 202 pounds and has shown the ability to go up and get a ball in practice. Register, who was a standout return specialist in high school, has also flashed playmaking ability in camp.
The group also includes redshirt sophomore Brian Smith, who made some nice catches in last Saturday's scrimmage and EJ Sardinha, who hauled in an over-the-shoulder touchdown in the scrimmage as well. In addition, freshman walk-on Adam Mayer from California has impressed coaches in camp with his sure hands.
Adding depth to the group is former Stetson transfer Louis Tuszynski and a trio of former high school quarterbacks in Will Reger (Burnsville High School), Matt Morse (Apple Valley High School) and Michael Conway (Aquinas High School in Wisconsin).
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