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Minnesota Football: Smith, Celestin, and Richardson to Represent Gophers at Big Ten Media Days

The trio of Gophers along with Coach Fleck are headed to Chicago

Rutgers v Minnesota
Gopher junior running back Rodney Smith will be one of three Gophers headed to Chicago

The season is rapidly approaching, and there is no bigger sign then the announcement of which players will represent the 14 school at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. This year the event will take place on July 24-25 at the Hyatt Regency at McCormick Place in Chicago. The entire list of all 42 players who will attend was released Tuesday afternoon. The Gophers will be well represented by junior running back Rodney Smith, senior linebacker Jonathan Celestin, and senior defensive tackle Steven Richardson.

The players and coaches will begin the media gauntlet on the 24th with individual media availability. All 14 coaches will hold a press conference during the event as well which will air live on BTN.

Tuesday is the Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon which is open to the public (if you want to pay the $110 to go). The coaches will have an autograph session, and then all the coaches and a select group of players will answer questions asked by Fox Sports 1’s Joel Klatt and Jenny Taft.

Smith, Celestin and Richardson were obvious choices for the Gophers to bring. Smith is one of the best returning running backs in the Big Ten and will play a large role in how successful the Gopher offense is this fall. Celestin, Smith’s high school teammate will anchor the center of the Gopher defense. The leading returning tackler for the Gophers will play a large role in the new defensive scheme this season. Richardson is the best defensive lineman the Gophers have had since Ra’Sheede Hageman. Despite near constant double teams he led the Gophers in tackles for loss a year ago and is expected to create havoc in the offensive backfield on many occasions this season for the Gophers.

Most of the biggest returning stars in the Big Ten will be appearing in Chicago. Tegray Scales, the Indiana linebacker who is the preseason leader for Big Ten Defensive Player of the year will be in attendance. Ohio State star defensive end Tyquan Lewis will also be there. Iowa will bring star linebacker Josey Jewell, Wisconsin will bring linebacker Jack Cichy and tight end Troy Fumagalli, and the Northwestern Wildcats will bring both quarterback Clayton Thorson and running back Justin Jackson.

One major name who will not be in Chicago is the leader for Big Ten Player of the Year in Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. The Nittany Lions are bringing a trio of seniors instead.

We will have a bigger preview of the Big Ten Media Days as it gets closer and the schedule is published. The full list of the players headed for Chicago is below:

EAST DIVISION

INDIANA HOOSIERS

Rashard Fant, Sr., CB

Richard Lagow, Sr., QB

Tegray Scales, Sr., LB

MARYLAND TERRAPINS

Jermaine Carter Jr., Sr., LB

Ty Johnson, Jr., RB

D.J. Moore, Jr., WR

MICHIGAN WOLVERINES

Mason Cole, Sr., OL

Maurice Hurst, Sr., DT

Mike McCray, Sr., LB

MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS

Brian Allen, Sr., OL

Chris Frey, Sr., LB

Gerald Holmes, Sr., RB

OHIO STATE BUCKEYES

Tyquan Lewis, Sr., DE

Billy Price, Sr., C

Chris Worley, Sr., LB

PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS

Marcus Allen, Sr., S

Jason Cabinda, Sr., LB

Mike Gesicki, Sr., TE

RUTGERS SCARLET KNIGHTS

Blessuan Austin, Jr., CB

Sebastian Joseph, Sr., DL

Dorian Miller, Sr., OL

WEST DIVISION

ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI

Christian DiLauro, Sr., OL

Jaylen Dunlap, Sr., DB

Malik Turner, Sr., WR

IOWA HAWKEYES

Josey Jewell, Sr., MLB*

Matt VandeBerg, Sr., WR

Sean Welsh, Sr., OL*

MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS

Jonathan Celestin, Sr., LB*

Steven Richardson, Sr., DT*

Rodney Smith, Jr., RB*

NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS

Chris Jones, Sr., CB*

Tanner Lee, Jr., QB

Chris Weber, Sr., LB

NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS

Godwin Igwebuike, Sr., S*

Justin Jackson, Sr., RB*

Clayton Thorson, Jr., QB*

PURDUE BOILERMAKERS

Ja’Whaun Bentley, Sr., LB

David Blough, Jr., QB*

Danny Ezechukwu, Sr., LB

WISCONSIN BADGERS

Jack Cichy, Sr., LB*

T.J. Edwards, Jr., LB*

Troy Fumagalli, Sr., TE*