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Golden Gopher Power Rankings

AJ Barker sprints for one of his three touchdowns.
AJ Barker sprints for one of his three touchdowns.

Week 2 of the TDG Gopher Power Rankings. As a reminder, these are the 100% arbitrary rankings of the 10 most influential or significant or reliable Gophers on the roster. Really we have not defined the criteria for these rankings but I think everyone has a pretty good idea of what we are doing here.

After a monster week where he scored three touchdowns and raced for over 100 yards, AJ Barker vaulted up the rankings from 6th to 1st on our prestigious list. Hats off to the kid who is having a season that none of us expected.

Overall there is very little consensus. Derrick Wells, DL Wilhite and AJ Barker all received first place votes.

#1 - A.J. Barker (Last week - 6)

  • Why He is Here - I mentioned it above, he had a tremendous game on Saturday. Barker's 10 catches, 231 yards and four touchdowns not only lead the team but he is third in the Big Ten for yardage and tied for the lead in touchdown receptions. He caught a pass early in the UNLV game and I remember saying something like "that is one more catch than I thought he'd get all season." I don't think there is any doubt that I am a great WR mind, so this one should be shocking to all of us.

#2 - Ra'Shede Hageman (Last week - 3)

  • Why He is Here - Moving on up in the rankings. Hageman's line against WMU doesn't jump off the page, but his athletic interception (that wasn't technically an intercpetion) was impressive and he had a couple big hits on Alex Carder (albeit after he released the ball, but those add up). Tied for 2nd in the Big Ten in sacks and top 10 in tackles for loss. If this production can be kept up in the Big Ten season, this will certainly be the breakout season we needed from Hageman.

#3 - Donnell Kirkwood (Last week - 7)

  • Why He is Here - A 100 yard rushing game is always a good thing. Getting 53 of your 110 yards in the fourth quarter is even better. Kirkwood has been a huge surprise this year. Nobody is going to think that he will be leading the Big Ten in rushing by year's end, but finishing in the top 10 would be something Gopher fans haven't seen since Amir Pinnix finished 4th in 2006.

#4 - MarQueis Gray (Last week - 2)

  • Why He is Here - Enjoy the top-5 while is lasts, Mr. Gray. Missing the next two weeks will not help his stock, but we shouldn't forget that he was awfully productive prior to getting injured. His passing efficiency ranks 3rd in the Big Ten. And of course he is a big-play thread with his legs as well.

#5 - Derrick Wells (Last week - 1)

  • Why He is Here - I'm not sure exactly. I guess dropping an interception cost him a few spots. For the game he still led the team in tackles and recorded two pass breakups. Overall he is 8th in the Big Ten in tackles and 1st in passes defensed. This week will be a tremendous test.

6 through 10 after the jump

#6 - John Rabe (Last week - 4)

  • Why He is Here - WHAT? No touchdowns last week for Rabe? What was the problem? Rabe was clearly a security blanket for Gray, it will be interesting to see how productive Rabe is with Shortell under center. He is having a very good season.

#7 - Michael Carter (Last week - n/a)

  • Why He is Here - The breakout game for Michael Carter. One pick and three breakups. This was outstanding to see and hopefully he is gaining confidence at precisely the right time. Carter, like the rest of the secondary will truly be tested this week. Another solid game should solidify his place in this top 10.

#8 - Max Shortell (Last week - n/a)

  • Why He is Here - Duh. Shortell entered Saturday's game with the Gophers trailing and all he did was lead three touchdown drives on his first three possessions. I think this presumed quarterback controversy is incredibly premature, Shortell will have every opportunity to actually make this into a controversy. But until he does so after at least two weeks of preparing as the QB1, then let's hold off. Great game last week in relief, we'll need a better one this week against a better opponent.

#9 - D.L. Wilhite (Last week - 5)

  • Why He is Here - All Wilhite did was record a sack last week, and he is the Big Ten's leader in that category. So why the drop to 9th? Well you can blame that one on Jeffrick and me. He did not vote for WIlhite and I had DL near the bottom of my list. GoAUpher actually had him 1st!

#10 - Zach Epping (Last week - n/a)

Why He is Here - When Coach Kill says this is our best offensive lineman, we listen. Epping received no votes last week and is ranked this. The center controversy might be more intriguing than the quarterback one when Zach Mottla gets himself healthy.

Dropped Out - Troy Stoudermire (8th), Josh Campion (9th) and Ed Olson (10th)

The offensive linemen are hard to judge for us laymen. But when Epping moves from G to C and we don't notice at drop off in production for the unit, that gives him a boost. And of course when Kill calls him their best offensive lineman right now, that will garner some power rank votes.

Stoudermire didn't really do anything to deserve getting bumped out of the rankings, but he hasn't really done much of anything to earn a spot in the top 10 either. One big game from him this week and I'm sure he'll vault back into the top 10.

Honorable Mention

Isaac Fruechte, Josh Campion, Mike Rallis and Jordan Wettstein all received votes. Maybe next week for these fine young Gophers.