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Minnesota Football: Celebrating the Gophers’ seniors of 2018

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Saturday will be a sendoff for a number of graduating seniors

NCAA Football: Purdue at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday will represent the final game at TCF Bank Stadium for a number of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Most of these seniors were recruited by Jerry Kill, then played for Tracy Claeys before spending their final years under current head coach P.J. Fleck and co. They’ve been through a lot in their tenures here. It is certainly a small class, but collectively they’ve all made an impact at Minnesota that will help lay the groundwork for years of success to come.

Blake Cashman

Is there a better story among this graduating class than Blake Cashman?

The former Eden Prairie standout was a walk-on at Minnesota, making a name for himself on special teams as a true freshman. His breakout season came as a sophomore, when he recorded 45 tackles and led the team with 7.5 sacks. That season, Cashman was named the Holiday Bowl Defensive MVP, with 12 tackles, two tackles for loss, and one sack.

He was awarded a scholarship by P.J. Fleck the following spring.

In his four seasons as a Golden Gopher, he has not missed a single game, playing in 48 games up to this point in his career. This season, Cashman leads the team in total tackles with 81, to go along with 12.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, four pass break-ups, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovered and returned for a touchdown.

Cashman will graduate with a degree in Marketing.

Emmit Carpenter

Carpenter took over as starting placekicker as a sophomore and proceeded to have the best season of his career, making 22-of-24 field goals and being named the Big Ten’s Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year. He was also a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award, in addition to being named All-B1G First Team by the media and All-B1G Second Team by the coaches. His 109 points scored tied a school record for a Minnesota kicker.

In his career at Minnesota as a three-year starter, Carpenter has made 47-of-58 field goal attempts, good for a program-best 81 percent field goal conversion rate. He has also made 103-of-104 career point-after attempts. His career point total currently sits at 244, which ranks him third among kickers all time and fourth among all players.

Carpenter will graduate with a degree in Supply Chain Operations.

Jerry Gibson

Originally recruited as a tight end before transitioning to defensive end during his freshman season, Gibson has been a quiet contributor in his five years with the program. He has played in 16 games and tallied five tackles, including two tackles for loss.

He was the first player this season not named Carter Coughlin to record a sack.

Gibson will graduate with an M.Ed. in Human Resource Development.

Donnell Greene

Greene has been a huge part of the Gophers’ offensive line the last three years. Since arriving from Coffeyville Community College as a sophomore, the 6’7’’, 320-lb. offensive lineman has claimed the left tackle position as his own, playing in 34 games and starting 27 of them.

He will graduate with a degree in Human Resource Development.

Jacob Huff

With Antoine Winfield, Jr. out for much of the season and Antonio Shenault sidelined due to injury, Jacob has been the elder statesman of a young secondary for the Gophers this season, leading the way with 65 tackles, eight passes defended, and two interceptions.

In his career at Minnesota, Jacob has played in 43 games and started 10 of them.

Jacob will graduate with a degree in Business & Marketing Education.

Julian Huff

Julian has been a consistent contributor since he first stepped foot on campus. In four seasons at Minnesota, he has played in 48 games and started two of them, amassing 71 tackles, eight tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, forced two fumbles, and recovered four fumbles over that span.

One of the most memorable moments of his Gopher career came as a freshman in the Quick Lane Bowl, when Julian’s pressure on Central Michigan quarterback Cooper Rush forced an interception that would seal the Gophers’ first bowl win since 2004.

Julian will graduate with a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management.

Payton Jordahl

Perhaps the most invaluable player among this graduating class, Jordahl has served as the Gophers’ primary long snapper for the last four seasons. He has snapped the ball 482 times in his career at Minnesota, participating in 264 punts, 138 point after attempts, and 80 field goals. Not to mention 10 career tackles, which speaks to his unique versatility.

He will graduate with an M.Ed. in Youth Development Leadership.

Gary Moore

Moore has started at defensive tackle for all 10 of the Gophers’ games this season. In his previous four years with the program, he played in 20 games and started five of them, recording 23 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and one forced fumble.

He will graduate with an M.Ed. in Youth Development Leadership.

Antonio Shenault

Shenault has been a mainstay in the Gophers’ secondary for the last four seasons, playing in 40 games and starting 22 of them. Up to this point in his career, he has collected 153 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, nine passes defended, and one forced fumble.

He recorded the first interception of his career this season against Miami (Ohio).

He will graduate with a degree in Sports Management.

Jared Weyler

Like Greene, Weyler has been an anchor for the Minnesota Moving Co. over the last three seasons. He did not see action in his first two seasons with the program but since then has played in 26 games and started 24 of them. Weyler missed multiple games as a sophomore and junior due to injury, but has been healthy this season and held down the center position for an offensive line that has improved as the season has gone along.

He will graduate with a Master’s of Accountancy.

Rodney Smith will participate in Senior Day activities on Saturday, but his plans for next season have not changed. There will also almost certainly be redshirt juniors recognized as part of Senior Day who will be moving on after graduating, but we won’t know who until Saturday.