Three Gophers Named to Hula Bowl Game

Minnesota seniors Dominique Barber, Amir Pinnix and Ernie Wheelwright have been selected to play in the 2008 Hula Bowl all-star game, event organizers announced today.

Dominique Barber, a unanimous second team All-Big Ten pick by the league's coaches and the media this past season, led the Golden Gophers and ranked ninth in the Big Ten with 100 total tackles from his strong safety position. Along the way, Barber led or tied for the team lead in tackles in four of 12 games and finished with double-figure stops four times. He also recovered three fumbles, including one he returned for a 46-yard touchdown at Michigan, and had seven pass break-ups on the year.

Ernie Wheelwright posted the second-most prolific pass-catching season in Minnesota history during 2007, hauling in 66 receptions for 775 yards and nine touchdowns. A starter at wide receiver in all 12 games this past season, Wheelwright collected at least five receptions nine times during the year. He also eclipsed the 100-yard mark in three games, including a career-best nine-catch, 123-yard performance against Illinois, and completed his Minnesota career ranked No. 3 in school history in both career receptions (159) and career receiving yards (2,434) and No. 2 in receiving touchdowns (26).

Amir Pinnix opened the 2007 season with a bang, posting 100-yard rushing efforts in each of the first two games of the year before being slowed by injuries. Despite the setbacks, Pinnix still managed to finish the season as the Gophers' No. 2 rusher with 563 yards and five touchdowns on 106 carries. For his career, Pinnix rushed for 2,439 yards – eighth most in school history – with 18 touchdowns and eight 100-yard rushing games.

"We are very pleased that Dominique Barber, Amir Pinnix and Ernie Wheelwright have agreed to play in this year's Hula Bowl," said VP Jennifer Logan. "This year's roster is outstanding and the game will be an exciting one."

UNLV's Mike Sanford along with Mike Riley from Oregon State will team up to coach the Kai (west) team, while Illinois' Ron Zook has been tapped to coach the Aina (east) squad.

The 2008 Hula Bowl all-star game will be played Saturday, Jan. 12, 2008, at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. The game is slated to kick off at 5 p.m. (CDT) and will be televised nationally by Versus.

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