At the start of the Gophers’ spring practice a few weeks ago, head coach Jerry Kill said his team’s offense will be much improved next season.
Mitch Leidner is the guy at quarterback after Philip Nelson’s transfer to Rutgers. David Cobb, fresh off a 1,000-yard rushing season, leads a loaded backfield. Maxx Williams and Drew Goodger return at tight end. And the offensive line boasts years of experience.
At nearly 6 feet 6 inches, with dreadlocks spilling out of the back of his helmet, Gophers junior linebacker De’Vondre Campbell looks like touted NFL prospect Jadeveon Clowney when he blitzes quarterbacks.
There are vast differences between Campbell and Clowney, a near-lock to be a top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Still, many think Campbell has the potential to be a first-round pick down the road.
“He has a great future ahead of him if he keeps doing everything he needs to do,” head coach Jerry Kill said.
While the cold weather may not indicate it, spring has arrived — for the Gophers football team, at least.
Minnesota held its first of 15 spring practices Tuesday at the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex. Those practices will culminate with the annual spring game, which is slated for April 12 at TCF Bank Stadium.
The Gophers started their spring season after a successful 2013 season, which ended just 68 days ago.
Sports reporters Sam Gordon, Dane Mizutani and Jack Satzinger recap Minnesota's Pro Day where Gopher athletes including Brock Vereen and Ra'shede Hageman perform drills in front of NFL recruits at the Gibson/Nagurski Football Practice Facility on Monday, March 3, 2014. <a href="http://www.mndaily.com/sports/football/2014/03/04/gophers-stand-out-pro-day">Read the full story.</a>
Ra’Shede Hageman and Brock Vereen turned heads with their physical attributes at last month’s NFL Combine. And at the Gophers’ Pro Day on Monday morning, they showcased their football skills to 19 NFL teams.
“They always say, ‘You could run as fast as you can, you can bench 500 times, but if you can’t carry it over to the football field, it doesn’t mean anything,’” Vereen said.
Vereen led all safeties in the bench press at the NFL Combine with 25 reps. He also flashed his speed with a 4.47-second time in the 40-yard dash.
Gophers head football coach Jerry Kill said his brother called him after he and the University of Minnesota agreed to a new contract.
“You ain’t worth that,” his brother said.
Still, after adding a year to the head coach’s old contract and bumping his salary to $2.1 million for the 2014-15 season, it appears the University of Minnesota administration thinks Kill is worth it.
Kill spoke to the media Monday afternoon for the first time since signing his new deal.