Let me make this very clear...this list is 100% subjective and intended to be a little fun while potentially stimulating conversation. But after week 1, here is your Gopher player power rankings. It is going to be a list of the Gophers who had the biggest impact on the team’s successes.
1 - Antoine Winfield Jr
The sophomore was the highlight of the defense against the Bulls of Buffalo. Winfield was all over the place on defense and you are beginning to see him as a leader out there on the field. He is integral to this defense and it showed in the opener.
2 - Tyler Johnson
This sophomore had his breakout game as a Gopher and has the fanbase awfully excited about what he is going to bring over the rest of this season, and the next three years. Johnson scored the team’s first touchdown of the year. He came across on a deep crossing route, went up to grab a high throw from Rhoda then outran the Buffalo secondary for a 62-yard touchdown.
3 - Jonathan Celestin
Was third on the team in tackles (6) but led the team with 1.5 tackles for loss. Celestin was active and hitting hard throughout the game.
4 - Jacob Huff
On and off the field due to various situations and defensive packages but it was Huff who grabbed the first turnover of the season. A little defensive pressure in the second half saw Tyree Jackson float a pass a little to much, Huff to to the ball first and brought it down for a pick. The ball is the program.
5 - Antonio Shenault
I wouldn’t have guessed it from watching the game but Shenault led the team in tackles. The corner also had a couple pass breakups and a TFL.
6 - Demetrius Douglas
This true freshman quietly had 6 catches on the night, tied for the team lead. His receptions were typically short passes as they were trying to get him the ball in space. No big plays from Douglas in game one, but he looks to be a weapon they will try to utilize and big plays will come.
7 - Shannon Brooks
I have Brooks ahead of Rodney only because he scored the lone rushing touchdown. His yards per carry was stronger but I am fully acknowledging that Rodney Smith actually led the team in rushing this game.
8 - Quarterback tandem
Combined, Demry Croft and Conor Rhoda were 19/32 for 239 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 pick. Both were poised making some good throws and did a solid job.
9 - Duke McGhee
Only played in the second half, but his return to the secondary after sitting out two quarters really made a noticeable difference.
10 - Ryan Santoso
His punts were not always booming and he’s not leading the conference in punting average. But we dominated field position against Buffalo. It seemed like they were consistently starting inside their own 20 and when our defense stopped them quickly, we got the ball back around our own 40.
Who’d I miss? Next week we’ll incorporate week 2’s impact players.