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Minnesota Football: Undrafted Free Agent/Rookie Tryout Prospects

These few players will have a tougher time finding an NFL team

NCAA Football: Holiday Bowl-Minnesota vs Washington State
Ryan Santoso could be another Gopher to get a tryout in the next few weeks
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

While it is likely that no Gopher will hear his name called for the first time since 2013 in the NFL Draft this weekend, several Gophers will most likely sign with NFL teams as undrafted free agents and gain rookie try-out spots in the next few weeks. We will preview the Gophers who are most likely to earn one of these spots over the next few days. We lump the next group together as they are all likely to have to win a training camp spot at a rookie tryout over the next few weeks.

Jonathan Celestin-Outside Linebacker

Height: 6’0

Weight: 230 lbs

40 yd dash: 4.75

Bench Reps: 27

In 49 games as a Gopher Celestin recorded 217 tackles including 19,5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He also added three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and took his only career interception 31 yards back to the house for a touchdown this past season in a win over Illinois.

Celestin can cover a lot of ground on the field and as a Gopher made plays in every direction of the field. He was good at covering backs out of the backfield and has good range for a linebacker. He is fairly good in coverage and when he gets the chance to make a tackle he usually takes the player down. However, Celestin’s main fault is he struggles to shed blocks. He can be taken out of the play easily by just one player. He probably doesn’t have much of a NFL future as a linebacker but could try and win a special teams job with an impressive rookie camp performance. He does have some interest from teams.

Ryan Santoso—Punter/Kicker

Height: 6’5

Weight: 258

Santoso completed his four year Gopher career doing a little bit of everything kickingwise. He was the Gophers placekicker his first two seasons making 29 of 39 field goal attempts with a career long of 52 yards. He was nearly automatic on extra points making 76 of 77 during his career. Santoso then became the Gophers punter his last two seasons finishing with 144 career punts for an average of 41.8 yards per punt. He put 46 of his punts inside the 20 yard line and had only 15 touchbacks. Santoso also was the primary kickoff kicker for three of his four seasons. Santoso took 181 kickoffs for his career and had 82 touchbacks.

Santoso his hoping his versatility will help him gain the attention of a NFL team. As we saw a few seasons ago with Peter Mortell, making a NFL team as a specialist is a very hard thing to do. Santoso has worked out with the Detroit Lions, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins among others.

Kobe McCrary—Running Back

McCrary played two seasons for the Gophers after transferring in from Butler Community College. He didn’t see much playing time at all his junior year but thanks to injuries to Shannon Brooks last season he made the most of his senior year as Rodney Smith’s backup. In two seasons McCrary rushed 133 times for 738 yards and 11 touchdowns. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry.

McCrary both put up positive and negative numbers at the Gophers Pro Day. His 25 bench press reps would have placed him in third place at the NFL Combine. However his 4.75 40-yard time was a bit slower than most would have hoped. He does have one stat working for him to try and impress teams though:

McCrary is your prototypical power back. He won’t outrun anyone but he loves contact and can get you yards when you need it. While he will most likely need to impress at a rookie tryout to make a training camp roster, he does have plenty of teams who have been evaluating him.

The Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints and Buffalo Bills also talked to him after his pro day performance.

Garrison Wright— Offensive Guard

Height: 6’3

Weight: 323 lbs

40 yard Dash: 5.51

Bench Reps: 30

Wright started for two seasons for the Gophers after transferring from Butler Community College. Wright has NFL size and strength but struggles with his agility and footwork. Similar to Jonah Pirsig a year ago Wright will have a chance to make a training camp roster but will struggle to get out of training camp. Wright is getting some interest from teams, but will probably need to go to a rookie tryout to sniff a training camp offer.

There are also slight chances that defensive tackles Andrew Stelter and Merrick Jackson and safety Duke McGhee would possibly gain rookie tryout deals as well, but their chances would seem to be less that the four players listed above.