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Minnesota Football: Blake Cashman is No. 9 in TDG’s Top 10

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The countdown to No. 1 continues with a former walk-on linebacker who had a breakout season last year.

NCAA Football: Holiday Bowl-Minnesota vs Washington State Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

For those of you who might’ve missed the memo, The Daily Gopher is counting down the Top 10 players on the current football roster. TDG staff members were asked to submit their rankings based on on-field performance and those selections were used to create a composite set of rankings. We’ll be unveiling our Top 10 every couple days over the next few weeks.

Our countdown continues with former walk-on linebacker Blake Cashman at No. 9.

Cashman wasn’t even on most fans’ radar at this time last year. As a freshman walk-on from Eden Prairie, Cashman was a special teams contributor for the Gophers, seeing action in all 13 games in 2015 and making four tackles, including one tackle for loss.

His anonymity didn’t last long. As a sophomore, Cashman played in all 13 games, but didn’t start a single one of them. Despite that, he finished the season sixth on the team in tackles with a total of 45, and led the entire Gopher defense with 7.5 sacks. Cashman recorded 6.5 sacks in the final five games of the season alone. He earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance against Northwestern, notching 10 tackles, two sacks, and one forced fumble.

But Cashman saved his best for last. In the Holiday Bowl against Washington State, he led the team with a career-high 12 tackles, including a key sack on a third down play. Cashman was even named Most Valuable Defensive Player for the bowl game.

Cashman’s breakout season did not go unnoticed, especially in the halls of the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex. In case you missed it, here is how Cashman found out he was being rewarded with a scholarship from head coach P.J. Fleck:

TDG’s Top 10 Gopher Football Players:

No. 9 - Blake Cashman

No. 10 - Ryan Santoso

Be sure to check back tomorrow as we reveal No. 8!