Scouting the Big 10: Minnesota

2001 was a down season for the Gophers and coach Glenn Mason as the team did not perform well on the field or in war rooms around the league on draft day. 2002 may not be much better as this program seems to be hitting a bump in the road.

Minnesota Gophers

Their top pro-prospect, and a good one, is tight end Ben Utecht, and athletic pass catcher that makes plays down the field, offering the signal caller a consistent target over the middle. Utecht is fluid, quick and a decent route runner, also adjusting nicely to the errant throw or making the difficult reception in stride. While he gives effort blocking Utecht has a tall angular build lacking much strength at the point of attack. Only a junior, that should change as he physically matures and Utecht will carry high grades into 2004. Senior Linemen Jake Kruppe and Jeremiah Carter both have nice size, strength but are limited athletes only effective in confined quarters and are rookie free agents. Running backs Marion Barber III and Thomas Tapeh are solid underclassmen to watch and the main reason why Tellis Redmon left for last year's draft.

Defensively the situation is a little better for the senior class as cornerback Michael Lehan is a nice sized cover man with adequate skills and a prospect that will be drafted if he takes his game to the next level. Sophomore Ukee Dozier is another solid cover corner and a young player with a good upside to his game.

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