A look at the Gopher football freshmen

Minnesota landed one of its strongest recruiting classes ever when they inked 24 players during the February signing period. Two of the players are no longer with the program as Maurice Alexander transferred to Eastern Michigan and David Wess landed at Cincinnati. Four true freshmen have played for the Gophers this season. We will look at the Gopher freshmen in a two-part series.

The Golden Gophers landed players from 10 different states from every region of the country, including seven signees from Minnesota. The group included six quarterbacks, two running backs, three tight ends, five defensive linemen, four linebackers, two defensive backs, a placekicker and a punter.


Dominique Barber, a 6-0, 180-pound defensive back from Plymouth (MN) Wayzata, has played in six games this season. He has played mostly on special teams, but got some play in the defensive secondary against Indiana. Barber has one assisted tackles and one pass breakup. He followed father, Marion Barber, Jr., and brother, Marion Barber III, in playing for the Gophers. Barber is not listed on the two-deep depth chart, but with left cornerbacks Ukee Dozier and Mike Wojciechowski, both being seniors, it is possible that he could contend for the starting spot next season.


Tony Mortensen, a 6-3, 200-pound quarterback from Hutchinson (MN) High, has played in two games this season. He has two carries for 6 yards in the season opening 63-21 win over Toledo. Mortensen also got into the Northwestern game over second-string QB Adam Ernst, but handed the ball off to his running backs as the Gophers ran out the clock in a 43-17 win over the Wildcats. With Cupito being a junior next season and Ernst becoming a senior, there is a chance that Mortensen could redshirt next season, allowing him three seasons of eligibility. Mortensen also has the potential to play other positions, such as tight end. 


Gary Russell, a 5-11, 195-pound running back from Columbus (OH) Walnut Ridge, has played in just two games, but has looked very impressive in his limited action. Russell, who is listed as the team's fourth running back, gained 79 yards on 14 carries in the season opener against Toledo. He suffered an injury, which caused him to miss the next three games. Russell had 10 carries for 65 yards in Minnesota's 45-0 win over Illinois. He has played on special teams in five games and has one tackles and one assist. Russell has demonstrated great potential, but with Marion Barber III and Laurence Maroney ahead of him (along with Amir Pinnix), some fans wonder if he should have been redshirted allowing him to have four years of eligibility.


Robert McGarry, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound long snapper from Stillwater (MN) High, has appeared in eight of the team's nine games. He has two assisted tackles this season and figures to hold the long and short snapping duties in the future.

Tomorrow, we will look at the 19 Gopher freshmen who will receive a redshirt this year.

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