Ryan Burns - GopherIllustrated

Five true freshmen to watch for the Gophers this fall

GopherIllustrated takes a look at five true freshmen who could make an impact for the Golden Gophers this fall.

1) Kiondre Thomas

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The Fort Smith (Ark.) product has very little issue adjusting to Big Ten football during his first week at Minnesota. Thomas has been able to stay healthy, and because of that, he's seen a lot of reps. Thomas has worked some with the first and second team during the last week, and it wouldn't be a surprise at all to see Thomas having a role on special teams this fall at the bare minimum, with a chance to have a role on defense.

2) Kamal Martin

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Off of first impressions, there's zero doubt that Kamal Martin is the guy in this freshmen class for Minnesota that you want coming off the bus first. He's a freak athlete that has gained 10 lbs this summer and looks like he's ready to contribute right away this fall. Martin has seen a surplus of reps as Minnesota tries to figure out what they have for depth behind the starters, and Martin has done well with the opportunities he's had. 

3) Tyler Johnson

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The Mr. Do it all for Minneapolis North has seen his transition to wide receiver go better than most expected of a recruit that played quarterback in high school. Johnson's natural athletic ability and work ethic have allowed him to make waves here early on in camp. Johnson isn't the fastest guy, but he's very smooth in his route and routinely makes catches outside of his radius. I wouldn't be shocked at all to see him get some playing time this season as Minnesota searches for wide receiver depth. 

4) Carter Coughlin

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The star in-state recruit of Minnesota's 2016 class had been doing what he needed to do in camp thus far to work himself into the conversation for playing time this fall. Coughlin is currently battling a knee injury that he sustained in the scrimmage on Saturday, but he's expected to be back next week sometime. Coughlin's ability to be explosive off the line with his length, could put him in line for a Julian Huff type of role. 

5) Coney Durr

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Coney Durr has been injured here the last few practices for Minnesota, but is expected to make his return to the field here this week. If Coney can show that he can stay healthy, I believe he's got the athletic talent to absolutely make an impact on special teams this fall, and potentially have a bigger role on defense than others expect. 


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