The Minnesota Golden Gopher football team had several players that had a disappointing 2010 seasons.
There are five players in particular that did not live up to expectations. They have a chance to bounce back in 2011 with a new coach, system and attitude.
Here are the five players need to have big seasons in 2011.
CB Michael Carter
The 5-foot-11-inch, 182-pound Pompano Beach, Fla. native was one of former head coach Tim Brewster’s biggest signees. He was a four-star recruit that was selected to play in the 2008 US Army All-American game. He played well in 12 games as a freshman, including two starts. He backed up the promising first year with a lackluster sophomore season, in which he played seven games, including four starts, and sat out the final three games due to academic issues. During spring practice, he sat out practices while wearing the Brown “Minnesota Lopher” t-shirt.
He has 35 career tackles, one sack and two interceptions in two seasons. He may be the Gopher with the most to prove in 2011.
LB Keanon Cooper
The 6-foot, 217-pound Dallas native was a stud safety at Skyline High School. He was another one of Brewster’s biggest signees and was a member of ESPN 150 list for the class of 2008. After redshirting in 2008, he was expected to be a key reserve in the linebacker rotation. He is one of the fastest linebackers in the Big Ten Conference, but has been an average linebacker over the last two seasons. His biggest contributions have been on special teams with two blocked punts in 2009.
He has 111 career tackles and 1.5 sacks in two seasons.
WR Brandon Green
The 6-foot, 191-pound Chicago native was one of the best players in Illinois for the class of 2008. He earned playing time as one of the Gophers top receivers since his freshman season in 2008. The Gophers expected him to be the No. 2 receiver before becoming the man. However, injuries have limited his production. He sat out most of last season with a knee injury before receiving a medical redshirt season from the NCAA.
He has 42 catches for 599 yards and one touchdown in two-plus seasons.
DL Ra’Shede Hageman
The 6-foot-6-inch, 302-pound Minneapolis native was a highly recruited tight end in the class of 2009. The former coaching staff felt he had more upside and would help the team more as a defensive end. He is big and athletic for a 300 pounder. But, despite the incredible size and athleticism combination, he has done very little on the field. He redshirted in 2009 and was expected to earn a starting spot in 2010. However, he played in eight games with no starts and appears headed inside to defensive tackle in the new defense. He sat out several games last season due to academic issues.
He has five career tackles in one season.
DE D.L. Wilhite
The 6-foot-3-inch, 237-pound Lexinton, Ky. native was not a highly recruited player in the class of 2008. But, he earned Freshman All-Big Ten honors from The Sporting News and Second-Team Freshman All-America honors from Phil Steele in 2009. He emerged as a pass rushing star with three sacks and a fumble recovery touchdown as a reserve in 2009. He was expected to be a feared pass rusher on third-down situations, but had just one sack last season, his first as a starter.
He has 18 career tackles, four sacks, one fumble forced, two fumble recoveries and one touchdown in two seasons.