Head coach P.J. Fleck announced that redshirt senior running back Shannon Brooks has been cleared to play on Saturday when the Minnesota Golden Gophers take the field against the Purdue Boilermakers in West Lafayette.
The last two years have been a tumultuous period for Brooks, as he has dealt with back-to-back knee injuries. He suffered an ACL tear in the spring of 2018, but was able to return for one game the following season before tearing the ACL in his other knee.
Expectations will obviously be tempered for his season debut on Saturday, but if he can produce like he did against Indiana last season — 22 rushes for 154 yards and one touchdown — then Minnesota will certainly take it. The Gophers’ running back corps has been banged up of late, with Mohamed Ibrahim missing the Georgia Southern game with a leg injury, Rodney Smith injuring his oblique, and Cam Wiley suffering a concussion.
History will almost certainly be on Brooks’ side, considering his past success against the Boilermakers. In his two previous game against Purdue, Brooks has rushed for 292 yards on 35 carries — good for an average of 8.3 yards per carry. Not bad.