The top 10 players returning to the Minnesota Golden Gophers for the 2020 college football season.
Important to note that this list is based upon last year's data and film from on each specific team as well as judgment based upon the player's position both his skill and the level of talent around him at the said position and influential cohorts. Positional value also plays a large factor in these rankings as does the offensive or defensive scheme.
1. Tanner Morgan, QB
2. Rashod Bateman, WR
3. Coney Durr, CB
4. Daniel Faalele, T
5. John Michael Schmitz, C
6. Benjamin St.-Juste, CB
7. Esezi Otomewo, Edge Defender
8. Sam Schlueter, T
9. Blaise Andries, G
10. Jordan Howden, S
Honorable Mention: Conner Olson, G; Chris Autman-Bell, WR; Mohamed Ibrahim, RB; Micah Dew-Treadway, DI; Mariano Sori-Marin, LB
There isn't a throw on the football field that Morgan doesn't make look easy. He exploded onto the scene a season ago and with every member of the offensive line returning in 2020, is poised to do so again. Morgan makes deep balls look easy and takes something off his passes when necessary, forcing tight-window throws or easing his receivers open at will. He's deadly from a clean pocket but it also didn't seem to matter if he was pressured as he wasn't rattled by pressure and limited mistakes under duress.
Bateman has a case for WR1 in next year's draft class but this is the first year that he'll be the top target and clear-cut No. 1 WR on his own team after years with Tyler Johnson opposite. He'll see the majority of coverage shifts his way and the top cornerback on most defenses, meaning 2020 is the year to make it or break it for Bateman.
Odds are: Bateman makes it. And makes it in a big way.
Faalele is literally a mountain of a man and though he's still learning the game, the 6'9, 400-pounder has shown a tremendous ability to understand and play at an extremely high level early. The Australian is much more than just a wall, he's a literal people-mover.
Durr and St.-Juste are an almost unstoppable duo in coverage as well while Howden brings a free-roaming, space-eating type of a play to this trio. They're solid against the pass and show no signs of a lapse in run defense either.
Schmitz, Olson and Schlueter represent the fellow returning Gophers on the offensive line and per PFF, they return an amazing 3,770 combined snaps from a season ago.