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Minnesota Football: Spring Position Preview - Special Teams

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Minnesota will need to replace a couple multi-year starters

NCAA Football: Fresno State at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

I say, “SPRING,” you say, “POSITION PREVIEWS!”

I say, “SPRING,” you say, “POSITION PREVIEWS!”

That’s right. The hiatus is over. Football is back! Well, the spring version of football, at least. And in the weeks leading up to the Minnesota Golden Gophers’ spring game at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 13 (which, in case you missed the news, has been moved indoors due to the impending snowstorm), we’ll be breaking down each position group.

Key Departure(s): Emmit Carpenter and Payton Jordahl
Key Returner(s): Jacob Herbers
Early Enrollee(s): Brady Weeks

First-year starting punter Jacob Herbers ranked 64th nationally last year, averaging 41.2 yards per punt. Of his 51 punts, 18 were downed inside the 20, including eight inside the 10-yard line. His longest punt of the season — and a career best — was 58 yards, a feat he first recorded against Nebraska before later repeating against Northwestern.

The holes for the Gophers are kicker and long snapper.

Three-year starting kicker Emmit Carpenter will be tough to replace. It’s a competition that won’t be settled until fall camp, when Connecticut transfer Michael Tarbutt and incoming freshman Michael Lantz are on campus. For now, redshirt freshman Brock Walker and redshirt sophomore Anders Gelecinskyj, both walk-ons, are vying for pole position with redshirt sophomore (and scholarship kicker) Grant Ryerse. If you ask me, I would bet on one of the fall enrollees.

Payton Jordahl has graduated after spending the last four years as the Gophers’ primary long snapper. You may not have noticed his valuable contributions, but you’ll certainly notice his absence if his successor isn’t up to par. Early enrollee (and scholarship recipient) Brady Weeks, the heir apparent at long snapper, will have big shoes to fill.