Gopher DT Scott Stephenson granted release

Sophomore defensive tackle Scott Stephenson was granted a release from his scholarship on Jan. 27. He played in nine games as a freshman, starting in two, including the Music City Bowl. He moved to defensive tackle following his freshman year and was expected to vie for a starting job this season. However, Stephenson did not start a game and finished with just five tackles in 12 games. GoldenSports.Net caught up with Stephenson's father, James, to find out the latest on Scott.

Scott Stephenson will sit out the season and would have two years of remaining eligibility. Nebraska has been mentioned as one of the possibilities.


Stephenson will remain at Minnesota until the end of the semester. James said that his son has a "B" average in biological sciences.


James said that while his son enjoyed his time at Minnesota, Scott, who did not play in the Gophers' Sun Bowl win, decided that it was time to move on.


"He made up his mind that Minnesota was not the place for him."


James said that Minnesota tried to convince him to stay.


"They spent five hours talking to him. They did not want to lose him. He kept quiet to be fair with their recruiting. He got his release before the Murtha situation."


James said that his son will transfer to a Division I school and sit out a season rather than go to a Division I-AA team, where he could play next season.


"He is a Division I player. He is a valuable asset. He has heard from several schools and they are very interested. It is too early to make a decision. He will visit schools in a couple of weekends."


James said that it was frustrating for Scott to not get more playing time this season after starting two games as a freshman.


"He could not understand why he was sitting on the bench. Just ask the offensive linemen that he went up against in practice."


James said that Scott turned down scholarship offers from Notre Dame, Iowa and Kansas State to sign with Minnesota.


"He wanted to be a local boy at home. However, with the lack of football support, it was not the experience he hoped for. He sometimes would say, ‘I could have been at Notre Dame.' It was frustrating."


James said that it was even more frustrating seeing former high school teammate Ryan Harris started seven games as a true freshman at right tackle for Notre Dame. Harris had played behind Scott, when Stephenson was named All-State.


Stephenson was named all-state, all-metro, all-conference and all-area his senior year. Stephenson paced the Raiders to a 24-2 record in his two seasons, including a second-place finish in 2000. He had 55 tackles, including 39 solo, in his senior campaign.


Gopher Illustrated Top Stories