Per the Star Tribune's Joe Christensen, head football coach Tracy Claeys said earlier this morning that redshirt junior kicker Ryan Santoso will take over Peter Mortell's responsibilities as starting punter. Redshirt sophomore Emmit Carpenter will enter fall camp as the favorite to take over as starting kicker, with Santoso relegated to field goals of 50 yards or more. No word on if that means Santoso will also be handling kickoffs.
Carpenter has not seen action the last two seasons, aside from attempting an unsuccessful onside kick against TCU a season ago. He'll have big shoes to fill if he is indeed taking over for Santoso.
From our special teams position preview back in the spring:
Redshirt junior Ryan Santoso has been a more than solid kicker for the Gophers the past two years. In 2015, Santoso made 17-of-21 field goal attempts, including seven field goals of 40 yards or more. That field goal percentage (.810) was second-highest in the Big Ten last season. Believe it or not, Santoso was even the team's leading scorer, once you add up all the field goals and extra points (of which he missed none). In addition to be named third team All-Big Ten and Academic All-Big Ten, he was also named a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award for the nation's top kicker.
27 of his 58 kickoffs in 2015 were touchbacks, a small percentage drop from his numbers the previous season, when 38 of 70 kickoff attempts went for touchbacks.
We'll have to wait until fall to see how it all shakes out.
Claeys revealed this morning that several Gopher players underwent surgery in the last month. Offensive linemen Garrison Wright and Jared Weyler both underwent minor knee procedures after spring practice. Tight end Brandon Lingen also underwent shoulder surgery last month. All three are expected to be full-go come August.
It was also confirmed by Claeys that quarterback Mitch Leidner will be ready to go when upperclassman begin their summer workouts in June.