Ryan Burns - GopherIllustrated

Five breakout candidates for Minnesota on the football field this fall

GopherIllustrated takes a look at five players that could have breakout seasons for the Golden Gophers this fall.

1) Jonathan Celestin

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I know this is likely the easiest one for me to day, but I'm a big Jonathan Celestin fan for this fall. Celestin had 59 tackles during his first two season playing in the shadow of De'Vondre Campbell, and now Campbell is well off with the Atlanta Falcons, Celestin will get his chance to shine. I truly believe he'll be in the conversation to be within Minnesota's top five leading tacklers this fall and someone you'll routinely making plays in the flats for the Gophers. 

2) Ray Buford

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Freshman Ray Buford has started along side Jalen Myrick since day one on Fall practice, and he hasn't given any reason to think it won't be that way come Oregon State. Buford will take some lumps here this season as he adjusts to Big Ten football for the first time, but there's no denying his physical abilities are going to take him a long way. 

3) Drew Wolitarsky

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Hear me out before you wonder why Drew Wolitarsky is on this list. Wolitarsky in his first three seasons at Minnesota had a total of 64 catches, and I'm not ruling out that as a catch total for Drew this fall. I don't think it's out of the realm of possibilities to see Drew Wolitarsky catch 60+ balls this fall and step into the role that KJ Maye had last season. Regardless, I expect Drew to be Minnesota's leading receiver this fall and go out with a bang for his season year. 

4) Garrison Wright

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A lot of things in Minnesota's offense hinge on the health of these final two guys, starting with left tackle Garrison Wright. I've talked about this on GopherIllustrated all of last week, but Wright looks to be the most left tackle that Mitch Leidner has had while at Minnesota. Wright has been able to give him a lot of time from the blindside, and has opened things in the run game. If Wright can stay healthy for a majority of the season, he's got a chance to be special for Minnesota this fall.

5) Vincent Calhoun

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As important as Wright is, Calhoun is right there next to him. Calhoun has transitioned from tackle at the junior college level to the Gophers starting right guard, and he hasn't looked back. Calhoun's skill set of athleticism and power are key for Minnesota in Bart Miller's zone and power scheme, as Calhoun looks like a natural fit pulling. He may be Minnesota's best offensive linemen right now. 


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