Today marks 99 days until the start of the 2017 Minnesota Golden Gophers Football season. We won’t have a countdown post every day, but on occasion (if we remember, if we need new content..) we will update the countdown to the start of the new season by profiling the Gopher who owns the number corresponding to the days remaining.
Thus, since today marks 99 days left, we will profile #99 on the Minnesota roster, Defensive lineman Andrew Stelter.
Stelter will be going into his senior season with the Gophers and has deeply entrenched himself into the rotation at defensive tackle for Minnesota. He along with Steven Richardson should see a majority of the playing time next season with some Merrick Jackson and others thrown in.
Stelter was a highly sought out three-star recruit out of Owatonna in 2013. He choose the Gophers and in a perfect world would have redshirted his freshman season, but due to injuries he played in 12 of 13 games in 2014. He only ended up with three tackles on the season all in the Middle Tennessee game. The potential was there, Stelter just needed to get stronger.
His sophomore season is where the potential started to break out. He played in every game and started seven. He ended up with 26 tackles on the season including one for a loss. His best game came at Iowa where he recorded five tackles and a half of a tackle for loss. He also excelled in the classroom being named Academic All-Big Ten after the season.
Last season he took a small step back, but a lot of that was due to the large rotation on the defensive line favored by Tracy Claeys. Stelter played in all 13 games and started five. He finished the season with 18 tackles, including three for a loss, recorded a sack and a half and broke up one pass. He was also named Academic All-Big Ten once again.
Stelter will be called upon to play a large roll this season for Minnesota. With the lack of depth on the defensive line, Stelter will see a lot of playing time. With the assumption that teams will be double teaming Richardson much of the time, Stelter will need to take advantage of some mismatches to create holes in the offensive line and either make plays, or make space for his linebackers to make plays. At 6’4 and 290 pounds, he isn’t the big bruising run stopping defensive tackle, but with Minnesota using a rush end similar to a modified 3-4 this season, Stelter’s role will be even more important up the middle of the Gophers defense.
With luck Gopher fans will be hearing a lot of Stelter’s name making big plays.