2008 Minnesota Golden Gophers Season
Minnesota DE Willie VanDeSteeg
Minnesota DE Willie VanDeSteeg
Posted Feb 4, 2009

2008 Minnesota Golden Gophers Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews

2008 Minnesota Golden Gophers

Dec. 31
2008 Insight Bowl
Kansas 42 … Minnesota 21

KU's Dezmon Briscoe scored on the first play of the game on a 60-yard catch, and he didn't stop there finishing with 14 catches with two more touchdown catches from six and 32 yards out. Minnesota answered the first score with two short Jon Hoese touchdown runs, and then Todd Reesing went to work leading the Jayhawks to a 28-point run with three touchdown passes, including a four-yarder to Kerry Meier, and Meier, a former quarterback, connected with Briscoe for a 32-yard score in the third quarter. The Gophers kept pushing with a six-yard Eric Decker touchdown catch early in the fourth, but the Jayhawks put it away with a two-yard Jake Sharp touchdown run.
Player of the Game: Kansas WR Dezmon Briscoe caught 14 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Minnesota - Passing: Adam Weber, 19-34, 176 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Adam Weber, 12-31. Receiving: Eric Decker, 8-149, 1 TD
Kansas - Passing: Todd Reesing, 27-35, 313 yds, 4 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Jake Sharp, 16-64, 1 TD. Receiving: Dezmon Briscoe, 14-201, 3 TD
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the Insight Bowl …Mike Rivera made 14 tackles for KU. Joe Mortensen made 13 stops … KU's James Holt made three tackles … Third down conversions: KU 6-of-10 – Minn. 3-of-13 … Total yards: KU 446 – Minn. 331 … KU's Kerry Meier caught 10 passes for 113 yards and a score … Average yards per play: KU 6.9 – Minn. 4.5

- 2008 Minnesota Preview   
2007 Minnesota Season

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2008 Record:

Aug. 30 Northern Illinois W 31-27
Sept. 6 at Bo. Green W 42-17
Sept. 13 Montana State  W 35-23
Sept. 20 Florida Atlantic W 37-3
Sept. 27 at Ohio State L 34-21
Oct. 4 Indiana W 16-7
Oct. 11 at Illinois W 27-20
Oct. 18 OPEN DATE 
Oct. 25 at Purdue W 17-6
Nov. 1 Northwestern L 24-17
Nov. 8 Michigan L 29-6
Nov. 15 at Wisconsin L 35-32
Nov. 22 Iowa L 55-0
Insight Bowl
Dec. 31 Kansas L 42-21

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2007 Record:

Sept. 1 B Green L 32-31 OT
Sept. 8 Miami U W 45-313OT
Sept. 15 at Fla Atlantic L 42-29
Sept. 22 Purdue L 45-31
Sept. 29 Ohio State L 30-7
Oct. 6
at Indiana L 40-20
Oct. 13 at Northwestern L 49-48 2OT
Oct. 20
N Dakota St L 27-21
Oct. 27 at Michigan L 34-10
Nov. 3 Illinois L 44-17
Nov. 10 at Iowa L 21-16
Nov. 17 Wisconsin L 41-34

Nov. 22
Iowa 55 … Minnesota 0
In one of the worst losses in Minnesota history, Iowa scored at will while the defense held the Gophers to just six first downs and 134 yards of offense. Shonn Greene ran for scores from nine and 15 yards out, and Ricky Stanzi connected with Brandon Myers for a three-yard score, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos on a 29-yard touchdown, and Tony Moeaki on a 13-yard score. Amari Spievey picked off an Adam Weber pass and took it 57 yards for a score in the final moments of the first half.
Player of the game: Iowa RB Shonn Greene ran 22 times for 144 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Minnesota - Passing: Adam Weber, 14-28, 127 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Mike Maciejowski, 2-13. Receiving: Jack Simmons, 4-26
Iowa - Passing: Ricky Stanzi, 15-28, 255 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Shonn Greene, 22-144, 2 TD. Receiving: Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, 7-181, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... What was that? Minnesota not only came up with a clunker against Iowa, it looked worse than it did at any point last year when things were at their worst. The running game came up with seven yards, there were three turnovers, no takeaways, and no answers. This has been a rough ending to a strong season, and there's still the bowl game to go, but the team has to go back to what got the team off to such a hot start in the first place. Taking care of the ball is the first step in the bowl game, and doing more on third downs will be a must.

Nov. 15
Wisconsin 35 … Minnesota 32
In a tale of two halves, Wisconsin overcame a 21-7 deficit with two one-yard touchdown runs from P.J. Hill and two safeties within a three minutes span with a special teams error on a punt and a sack of Adam Weber in the end zone. A five-yard John Clay touchdown run gave the Badgers some breathing room, but the Gophers wouldn't go away. Shady Salamon caught 13-yard touchdown pass with 4:15 to play to pull Minnesota within three, but the Badger defense was able to hang on late. Adam Weber threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score in the second quarter for the Gophers.
Player of the game: Wisconsin RB P.J. Hill ran 24 times for 117 yards and two touchdowns, and he caught two passes for 11 yards
Stat Leaders: Minnesota - Passing: Adam Weber, 15-30, 202 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Adam Weber, 11-43, 1 TD. Receiving: Brandon Green, 5-80, 1 TD
Wisconsin - Passing: Dustin Sherer, 18-31, 242 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: P.J. Hill, 24-117, 2 TD. Receiving: Isaac Anderson, 6-114
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The loss to Wisconsin was a breakdown of almost everything the Minnesota coaching staff has been working towards. Three turnovers, 10 penalties and a big special teams error, and two safeties, were part of the mistakes that allowed the Badgers to pull off the win. Adam Weber was in total control of the offense at times, but he needed Eric Decker back to keep the chains moving. Without their star receiver, the Gophers converted just 3-of-12 third down chances. The defense struggled at times, but it held up well against the run and everyone was popping.

Nov. 8
Michigan 29 … Minnesota 6
K.C. Lopata was 5-for-5 on field goal attempts and the Michigan defense held Minnesota to 188 yards of total offense in the stunningly easy win. Lopata gave the Wolverines a 9-0 first half lead on three kicks before Greg Mathews caught an eight-yard touchdown pass. The Wolverines were up 19-0 before Minnesota finally got on the board with a 28-yard Joel Monroe field goal, but Lopata answered on the following drive with a 23-yarder. Minnesota was never in the game.
Player of the game: Michigan PK K.C. Lopata hit five field goals from 44, 34, 26, 48 and 23.
Stat Leaders: Minnesota - Passing: Adam Weber, 13-24, 105 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: DeLeon Eskridge, 11-80. Receiving: Jack Simmons, 3-20
Michigan - Passing: Nick Sheridan, 18-30, 203 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Michael Shaw, 8-71. Receiving: Martavious Odoms, 7-43
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Now it's time to worry. For the first time all year long, including the loss to Ohio State, the Gophers were completely outmatched on the lines as Michigan did whatever it wanted to. Adam Weber was under pressure all game long and he failed to produce with just 105 yards, and has been the case for most of the year, there wasn't a running game to fall back on. On the plus side, for all the yards allowed, the D did a decent job of holding up and forcing field goals. After what happened this week, the last team Minnesota wants to deal with is a big, bruising one with a banger of an O line … welcome to Wisconsin.

Nov. 1
Northwestern 24 … Minnesota 17
Minnesota came into the game as the nation's leader in turnover margin, but it turned out to be a late interception that lost the game. Tied at 17 and pushing for a possible late game-winning score, Gopher QB Adam Weber's pass was tipped into the hands of Brendan Smith, who weaved and worked his way 48 yards for the touchdown with 12 seconds to play. That big defensive moment overshadowed the terrific game from Mike Kafka, the Wildcat quarterback who ran for 217 yards and threw a perfectly lofted 36-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Ebert along with a two-yard touchdown pass to Josh Rooks. Minnesota got a pick six of its own with a perfectly timed play from Traye Simmons, who took a Kafka pass 23 yard for a second quarter score. Neither offense scored in the second half.
Player of the game: Northwestern QB Mike Kafka completed 12-of-16 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions, and he ran 27 times for 217 yards
Stat Leaders: Minnesota - Passing: Adam Weber, 31-51, 327 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Adam Weber, 16-53. Receiving: Ben Kuzina, 7-98
Northwestern - Passing: Mike Kafka, 12-16, 143 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Mike Kafka, 27-217. Receiving: Jeremy Ebert, 3-48, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Now we'll see what this Minnesota team is made of. After being the shocking story of the Big Ten season by playing crisp on offense and aggressive on defense, the Gophers have to rebound after the heartbreaker to Northwestern and beat a bad Michigan team at home. The running game has to be far better after it was all Adam Weber both on the ground and in the air. Don't blame the late play-calling and the aggressiveness for the loss. That's the way Tim Brewster has coaches all year long.

Oct. 25
Minnesota 17 … Purdue 6
Minnesota's defense forced four turnovers and knocked out Purdue QB Curtis Painter, while the offense got just enough to get by with a four-yard Adam Weber run in the first quarter and a nine-yard pass to Jack Simmons in the fourth. Joel Monroe kicked a 41-yard field goal for the Gophers in the second. Purdue only managed 226 yards of total offense with two Carson Wiggs field goals in the first quarter. Purdue lost two fumbles and was picked off twice.
Player of the game: Minnesota QB Adam Weber completed 21-of-34 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown with an interception, and he ran 13 times for 60 yards and a score.
Stat Leaders: Purdue - Passing: Justin Siller, 10-17, 73 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Kor Sheets, 21-73. Receiving: Brandon Whittington, 7-37
Minnesota - Passing: Adam Weber, 21-34, 212 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Adam Weber, 13-60, 1 TD. Receiving: Brandon Green, 5-100
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Minnesota keeps on rolling thanks to its defense. Now at 7-1 following the win over a lifeless Purdue, the Gophers are definitely going to a bowl game, and now it's a question of whether or not it'll be on New Year's Day. With Northwestern banged up and Michigan struggling, 9-1 is absolutely possible before going to Wisconsin. The offense needs to find a bit more pop, but if the defense continues to play this well, watch out. However, the penalties have to stop. The Gophers committed 13 for 114 yards against the Boilermakers.

Oct. 11
Minnesota 27 ... Illinois 20
The Minnesota defense gave up 462 passing yards to Juice Williams, but it stopped him just short on a fourth and goal run and forced a late fumble, which Simoni Lawrence returned nine yards for a touchdown with just over five minutes to play. The Illini tried to come back as A.J. Jenkins caught a 35-yard touchdown pass, to go along with a 54-yard touchdown earlier in the fourth quarter, but a final Hail Mary attempt got knocked away. DeLeon Eskridge ran for touchdowns from one and 54 yards out for the Gophers, and Eric Decker caught a 25-yard scoring pass. The two teams combined for eight sacks.
Player of the game: Minnesota LB Simoni Lawrence made nine tackles with a sack, two tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery for a score.
Stat Leaders: Illinois - Passing: Juice Williams, 26-41, 462 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Juice Williams, 18-41. Receiving: Arrelious Benn, 12-181
- Passing: Adam Weber, 18-26, 184 yds, 1 TD
DeLeon Eskridge, 26-124, 2 TD. Receiving: Eric Decker, 9-86, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Minnesota defense wasn't a rock for the entire game against, but it came up with the big plays when it had to. DeLeon Eskridge was fantastic, but he had plenty of room to run as the offensive line did a decent job, even if it struggled at times in pass protection. Even though the Gophers allowed 462 passing yards, this was a dream of a game after what happened last year. Last year, the secondary would've given up a bazillion yards but the defense wouldn't have made up for it with a big stop or a takeaway. The team wouldn't have found a way to win, while this year's team is managing to get the job done no matter what. Yes, that 1-11 team of last year is no bowl eligible.

Oct. 4
Minnesota 16 ... Indiana 7
Eric Decker caught a career-high 13 passes, but Minnesota had a hard time putting Indiana away as Joel Monroe hit three field goals and Shady Salamon ran for a one-yard score. Indiana got a 77-yard scoring grab from Marcus Thigpen, but the offense sputtered and coughed all game long with just 216 yards outside of the one big play. The Hoosiers managed just 10 first downs and 49 rushing yards, but the defense came through with a strong day against the run allowing just 1.3 yards per carry. Each team had four sacks.
Player of the game: Minnesota WR Eric Decker caught 13 passes for 190 yards
Stat Leaders: Minnesota
- Passing: Adam Weber, 22-37, 274 yds
Rushing: DeLeon Eskridge, 29-74. Receiving: Eric Decker, 13-190
- Passing: Kellen Lewis, 15-21, 167 yds
Rushing: Kellen Lewis, 9-18. Receiving: Ray Fisher, 5-46

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Minnesota isn't going to the BCS, but it's beating the teams it's supposed to beat and it's doing a great job of coming through with the big plays when needed. The defense did a phenomenal job of keeping the Indiana running game in check, it stuffed Kellen Lewis, and it was fantastic on third downs to get the Hoosiers off the field. Adam Weber appeared to be dinged up in the first half, but he managed to get through the game and turned out to be solid. There's still plenty of work to be done on both sides of the ball, and coming up with a big game against Illinois next week or Purdue the game after is key to get to that six-win bowl eligibility hump to take the pressure off.

Sept. 27
Ohio State 34 ... Minnesota 21
Beanie Wells ran for 106 yards and Terrelle Pryor tore off a 33-yard touchdown run and added a one-yard score on the way to a 34-6 Ohio State lead. Minnesota mounted a mini-comeback with a three-yard Ralph Spry touchdown run and a 22-yard Da'Jon McKnight touchdown catch in the final 8:24, but it was way too little, too late. Brian Robiskie caught two touchdown passes for the Buckeyes, one from Pryor from eight yards out and one from Todd Boeckman from 31 yards away.
Player of the game: Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor completed 8-of-13 passes for 70 yards and a touchdowns, and ran eight times for 97 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Minnesota
- Passing: Adam Weber, 23-36, 187 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: DeLeon Eskridge, 18-76. Receiving: DeLeon Eskridge, 8-55
Ohio State
- Passing: Terrelle Pryor, 8-13, 70 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Chris Wells, 14-106. Receiving:
Brian Robiskie, 8-90, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
The Minnesota defense got pounded on for the first time all year as Ohio State thumped away with Beanie Wells and Terrelle Pryor. The offense had a few chances, getting the ball on a turnover deep in Buckeye territory early and going on a long drive in the third, but could only come away with two field goals. Adam Weber wasn't bad, but the running game struggled and there weren't enough good drives to give the defense a little rest. Indiana is a winnable game up next, but the offense has to average more than 2.9 yards per carry.

Sept. 20
Minnesota 37 ... Florida Atlantic 3
DeLeon Eskridge ran for two one-yard scores and Adam Weber connected with Eric Decker on a 31-yard touchdown pass as Minnesota had no problems with Florida Atlantic. FAU gained just 276 yards of total offense with Rusty Smith getting picked off four times. Simoni Lawrence took one of the interceptions 50 yards for a fourth quarter touchdown while the secondary held Smith to just 153 passing yards. FAU's only points came on a 35-yard Warley Leroy field goal.
Player of the game: Minnesota RB DeLeon Eskridge ran 19 times for 78 yards and two touchdowns, and had six catches for 61 yards.
Stat Leaders: Florida Atlantic
- Passing: Rusty Smith, 17-34, 153 yds, 4 INTs
Rushing: Charles Pierre, 10-70. Receiving: Lester Jean, 6-61
- Passing: Adam Weber, 19-24, 235 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: DeLeone Eskridge, 19-78, 2 TDs. Receiving: Eric Decker, 7-122, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Minnesota might not be that great, but it's 4-0 and is getting better and better. It helps that it's winning the turnover battle, forcing four Florida Atlantic interceptions, while stuffing any semblance of an Owl running game. Adam Weber was terrific completing 19-of-24 passes, and while he threw an interception, he didn't make any horrible plays to get allow FAU to get back into the game. Now comes the trip to Ohio State which looks a whole bunch more interesting than it did a few weeks ago. If Minnesota doesn't make any mistakes, the chance might be there to pull off the shocker.

Sept. 13
Minnesota 35 … Montana State 23
Montana State got off to a good start with a 32-yard DeAndre Green touchdown catch, but Minnesota woke up and took over with three-yard touchdown runs from Adam Weber and DeLeon Eskridge to go along with a three-yard Eric Decker touchdown catch to cap off a 21-point second quarter. MSU stayed alive with a kickoff return for a score, but Eskridge scored on two more short runs to get the Gophers up for good in the third quarter.
Player of the game: Minnesota RB DeLeon Eskridge rushed 24 times for 114 yards and three touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Montana State
- Passing: Cody Kempt, 13-28, 172 yds, 1 TD, 2 INTs
Rushing: Demetrius Crawford, 19-76. Receiving: Deon Tolliver, 4-59
- Passing: Adam Weber, 15-24, 201 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: DeLeon Eskridge, 24-114, 3 TDs. Receiving: Eric Decker, 9-157, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... In play of Duane Bennett, who suffered a torn ACL, DeLeon Eskridge looked strong running the ball against Montana State. The Gophers didn't spread the ground game around much, and Adam Weber didn't have his sharpest game throwing the ball, but the offense rolled when it had to in the second quarter. Now the defense has to continue to tighten up the pass defense and the penalties, eight for 87 yards, have to slow down.

Sept. 6
Minnesota 42 … Bowling Green 17
Minnesota busted out a tight game with a 21-point fourth quarter as Eric Decker caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Adam Weber, Weber ran for a three-yard score, and Shady Salamon ran for a five-yard score. Decker also ran for a 12-yard score and Weber threw three touchdown passes in all, but Bowling Green held tough early on with Anthony Turner running for a one-yard score and Chris Wright catching a 27-yard touchdown pass in the third.
Player of the game:
 Minnesota QB Adam Weber completed 21-of-25 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns, and ran 11 times for 13 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Minnesota - Passing: Adam Weber, 21-25, 233 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Shady Salamon, 12-64, 1 TD Receiving: Duane Bennett, 8-100, 1 TD
Bowling Green - Passing: Tyler Sheehan, 29-44, 261 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Chris Bullock, 5-40. Receiving: Corey Partridge, 7-60
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Considering Minnesota needed to battle to get by Northern Illinois, and was an underdog against Bowling Green, this was a dominant win over the Falcons. Adam Weber was nearly perfect completing 21-of-25 passes while leading the offense to a fantastic fourth quarter. It's also worth noting that the defense wasn't miserable for the first time in a long time. It wasn't great, but it wasn't horrible and it only allowed seven points in the fourth quarter.

Aug. 30
Minnesota 31 ... Northern Illinois 27
In a wild game with several huge plays, Minnesota could've tied it late with a field goal, but went for it on fourth and one, made it, and got a one-yard Duane Bennett touchdown run with 22 seconds to play. But NIU would have a final shot helped by a kickoff that went out of bounds. Two late passes in the end zone were knocked down, and the Gophers escaped, but not before giving up Nathan Palmer second half touchdown catches from 91 and 52 yards out, but Minnesota kept up the pace with Adam Weber hitting Jack Simmons on a 53-yard touchdown and Bennett scoring on a 61-yard dash for a 24-13 lead before Palmer went to work. The Gophers went 74 yards in ten plays for the final score.
Player of the game: Vir
Stat Leaders: Minnesota - Passing: Adam Weber, 24-37, 298 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Duane Bennett, 18-92, 2 TD. Receiving: Eric Decker, 10-89, 1 TD
Northern Illinois - Passing: Chandler Harnish, 17-29, 326 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Justin Anderson, 13-34, 1 TD. Receiving: Britt Davis, 4-24
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Minnesota might have shown excellent heart and toughness to get the hard yards and the touchdown needed late against Northern Illinois, but it was more of the same from the defense. There were too many big plays, not nearly enough of a pass rush, and too many mistakes. The team was fortunate to get out with a win, but another game like this and next week's trip to Bowling Green will be a loss. The defense still has miles to go.

2008 Early Lookahead
Why to get excited: This was a really, really young team at the end of last year. For all of first year head man Tim Brewster's problems, he did do one thing right in scuttling the ship and getting the freshmen some meaningful minutes once the wheels started coming off. That should now pay off. It might not have seemed like it, but the team played better late with near-misses against Iowa and Wisconsin, while the combination of QB Adam Weber to WR Eric Decker started to explode. Yes, there were too many blowouts and a whole slew of ugly losses, but a veteran team would've won almost all the close games against Bowling Green, Florida Atlantic, Northwestern, North Dakota State, Iowa and Wisconsin. The schedule won't be an excuse with a non-conference schedule against Northern Illinois, Bowling Green, Montana State and Florida Atlantic.
Why to be grouchy: Does the defense have a killer linebacker who can make a stop? The pass rushing will come with a few good players, like Derrick Onwauchi and Lee Campbell, ready to emerge, but the linebacking corps could still be a problem. Eight starters might return on defense, but it was the worst D in America.  
The number one thing to work on is: All things defense. The offense will be more than fine as long as Weber is upright, but the defense has to take a major step up. True freshmen were littered throughout the secondary and several players were thrown to the wolves on the defensive front seven. This year, the D has to figure out how to do at least one thing well.
Biggest offensive loss: C Tony Brinkhaus
Biggest defensive loss: LB Jason Pratt
Best returning offensive player: QB Adam Weber, Soph.
Best returning defensive player: LB Deon Hightower, Sr.

2007 Recap
2007 Recap:
An unexpected choice to replace Glen Mason a year ago, rookie head coach Tim Brewster did nothing in year one to make his hiring look like a shrewd one.  The Gophers plummeted to their most losses in school history, failing to win a Big Ten game for the first time since 1983.  While the new one-back, spread offense showed hints of potential under freshman QB Adam Weber, the defense was a wire-to-wire calamity, setting a school record for yards allowed in a season and finishing last in the conference in just about every statistical category.   

Offensive Player of the Year: QB Adam Weber

Defensive Player of the Year: S Dominique Barber

Biggest Surprise: WR Eric Decker.  The sophomore instantly became one of the biggest beneficiaries of Mike Dunbar's aerial attack, hauling in a Gopher-record 67 passes for 909 yards and nine touchdowns.  At 6-2 and 210 pounds, he's a physical receiver that's only going to get better with more reps in the system.   

Biggest Disappointment: Losing to Florida Atlantic, 42-39, on Sept. 15.  In retrospect, losing to the Owls was no upset, but at the time, the Gophers were coming off an exciting overtime win against Miami University, and Florida Atlantic was a long way from becoming Sun Belt champs.  Allowing 463 yards and five touchdown passes to Rusty Smith wound up being a harbinger of things to come for Minnesota in 2007.   

Looking Ahead: Although there's plenty of potential on offense, if eternal optimist Brewster is going to make a quantum leap in 2008, the defense will have to get light years better.  The good news is that things can't possibly get worse, and a ton of underclassmen earned letters last fall.

2008 Recruiting Class

Star of the Class

MarQueis OJ Gray, QB 6-4, 215 Indianapolis, Ind., Ben Davis High School
One of the most highly regarded dual-threat quarterbacks in the country ... can make big plays with both his arm and legs ... possesses the size and arm strength to throw the ball down the field and the athleticism to make a big play when protection breaks down  ... received four stars from Scout, which ranks him as the nation's No. 14 high school quarterback ... ESPN.com's No. 13 quarterback nationally ... selected to participate in the Elite 11 Quarterback Camp ... Played in the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl, completing 3 of 7 passes for 56 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 41 yards and a score.

Potential Instant Impact Players

Tim McGee, DT 6-4, 300 Columbia, S.C. East Mississippi Community College/Ridge View High School
Has the size and speed to be an impact player right away ... possess excellent burst and a great first step ... outstanding speed for his size ... has been clocked at 5.0 in the 40 ... four-star rated prospect by Scout ... Scout's No. 3 junior college defensive tackle in the nation ... received three stars from Rivals. JUNIOR COLLEGE: Attended East Mississippi Community College in Scooba, Miss. ... played both tackle and nose during the 2007 season, helping the Lions to a 4-5 record ... collecting 19 tackles, including three for losses as a sophomore ... also forced a fumble and had three pass breakups ... recorded eight tackles, one for a loss as a freshman in 2006.

Traye Simmons, DB 5-11, 175 Marietta, Ga., College of the Sequoias/Marietta HS
Rated as one of the nation's top junior college defensive backs ... Also received four stars from Scout ... originally signed with Minnesota during the early signing period but will not join the Gopher program until June. JUNIOR COLLEGE: Played two seasons for head coach Curtis Allen at College of the Sequoias  ... Totaled 29 tackles, including four for losses, in nine games as a senior in 2007  ... Also credited with six pass break-ups  ... Had six punt returns for 96 yards (16.0 average), including a 48-yarder vs. West Hills  ... Earned first team All-Valley Conference honors as a defensive back  ... Appeared in eight games as a freshman, recording 23 tackles, including two behind the line of scrimmage, and three pass break-ups.

Rest of the Class

Xzavian Brandon WR 6-2 170 Atlanta, GA
Tramaine Brock DB 6-0 180 Perkinston, MS
Terrell Combs ATH 6-2 252 Lexington, KY
Keanon Cooper DB 6-0 190 Dallas, TX
Jonathan Dandridge DB 6-1 175 Detroit, MI
Jewhan  Edwards DT 6-1 338 Philadelphia , PA
Deleon Eskridge RB 5-11 181 San Mateo, CA
Ryan Grant LB 6-1 215 Eden Prairie, MN
MarQueis Gray QB 6-4 220 Indianapolis, IN
Brandon Green WR 6-0 167 Chicago, IL
Vincent Hill WR 6-0 190 New Berlin, NY
Johnny Johnson DB 5-9 170 Chicago, IL
Brandon Kirksey DE 6-3 250 St. Louis, MO
Eric Lair TE 6-3 210 Houston, TX
Simoni Lawrence DB 6-1 207 Upper Darby, PA
Sam Maresh LB 6-2 240 Champlin, MN
Tim McGee DT 6-4 295 Scooba, MS
Cedric McKinley DE 6-5 245 Perkinston, MS
Da'Jon McKnight DB 6-3 190 Dallas, TX
John Nance ATH 6-4 185 St. Paul, MN
David Pittman ATH 5-11 195 Pasadena, CA
Spencer Reeves LB 6-1 193 Dallas, TX
Shady Salamon RB 5-10 175 St. Paul, MN
Rex Sharpe LB 6-3 245 Yuma, AZ
Traye Simmons DB 5-11 175 Visalia, CA
Brodrick Smith WR 6-3 200 Garden City, KS
Troy Stoudermire ATH 5-10 163 Dallas, TX
Gary Tinsley LB 6-1 220 Jacksonville, FL
Kevin Whaley RB 5-9 166 Virginia Beach, VA
D.L. Wilhite ATH 6-4 235 Lexington, KY


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