There are eleven days left until Gopher football. Demry Croft wears number 11 for the Maroon and Gold. Croft comes into the Fall as the likely back up for Mitch Leidner. Last season, he played in three games and finished with a line of nine rushes for 38 and 7-17 passing for 37 yards.
The most problematic part of those numbers is that they happened at all. Croft should have redshirted last season and entered this season as a freshman not a sophomore. There is little reason to believe that his small number of game reps contributed to his development. In the event that he turns into an excellent quarterback he will graduate a year earlier than he would have otherwise. The Kill era Gophers did this repeatedly with players for little gain. As of now there is no reason to suspect that Tracy Claeys will have a different view towards redshirts.
As the Mitch Leidner hype train roles on, threatening to derail the second he incompletes a pass, Croft will continue to inhabit the role of every fan’s favorite player. The backup quarterback is where all irrational hope lives. He can do no wrong because he is never supposed to play. Secretly, every fan hopes that he is the next Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, or Doug Williams. That is blatantly unfair to every backup including Croft. At this moment, we do not know whether or not he will develop into a starting BIG caliber quarterback. Observations from fall camp indicate that he throws a great ball and still needs to make better decisions. The latter might as well be stamped onto every young player’s scouting report.
What is encouraging going forward is that the Gophers have a quarterback competition next year that should yield an exciting not dreadful outcome. Seth Green, Demry Croft, and Conor Rhoda should all be prepared to take over Jay Johnson’s offense. The future is brighter than it was three years ago, and that is something every fan should celebrate.