Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Golden Gopher senior wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky checks in at MIG No. 12

Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner is in need of a wide receiver to step up in 2016 in order to replace the numbers that K.J. Maye put up during his senior season in 2015. Drew Wolitarsky has the skill set to take over as the lead receiver in the Gophers offense.

Minnesota Golden Gopher senior quarterback Mitch Leidner needs a best friend, more specifically Leidner needs a wide receiver to be his best friend, someone that Leidner knows he can rely on when Minnesota is looking to convert a 3rd and 9.  Sure Leidner will have some big targets to look at with his solid stable of tight ends, but it would be much more meaningful if Leidner’s best friend turned out to be senior wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky.

The former prep standout from California came to Minnesota after a record setting career at Canyon High School (Santa Clarita).  Wolitarsky broke future NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Smith's records of 271 catches and 4,486 yards with 281 catches and 5,148 yards.  Wolitarsky slacked a tad bit in the touchdown department as he only compiled 52 career touchdowns, second in California state history.

Minnesota doesn’t need Wolitarsky to break or set any type of receiving records in 2016, as Minnesota will most likely have a balanced attack.  But what they do need out of Wolitarsky is consistency and reliability, something he is easily capable of providing.

The numbers are spectacular but they are trending in the right direction.  As a freshman Wolitarsky played in all 13 games, starting four and finishing third on the team in receiving yards (259) and receptions (15).  His sophomore season was cut short due to injury and Wolitarsky was limited to eight games and two starts, finishing with 10 catches for 106 yards, as he missed the final four regular season games of the season.  Last year Wolitarsky proved what he could mean to the Gopher offense during a week two road trip to Colorado State.  Wolitarsky helped the Gophers complete the comeback with career highs in catches (9) and yards (114) and also caught his first touchdown in maroon and gold. Wolitarsky finished the year with 39 grabs for 524 yards and three scores, all second on the team to K.J. Maye (73-773-5).

I am not sure if Wolitarsky can make the type of improvement Maye made from his junior to senior season last year.  In Maye’s junior year his stat line was 16 catches, 298 yards and 1 touchdown.  His breakout performance as a senior included an increase of 57 catches, 475 yards and four touchdowns based on his junior season. Hell Maye’s career numbers heading into his senior season were 34-417-1 so it goes to show how important seniors are to a team and the type of impact they can make on the field.

Look for Wolitarsky to step up this year and become the team leader at the wide receiver position.  I put him on a season of 61 catches for 625 yards and six touchdowns.

Top 15 MIG Countdown

15.  Isaiah Gentry

14.  Cody Poock

13.  Julian Huff

12.  Drew Wolitarsky

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