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Minnesota Football: Spring Position Previews - Running Back

Will the Gophers be able to count on Mohamed Ibrahim this fall?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 02 Ohio State at Minnesota

With spring football practice underway at Minnesota, we’ll be breaking down each position group in the lead-up to the spring game at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 30.

2022 Running Back Roster

Returning Starter(s): Mohamed Ibrahim and Trey Potts
Other Returners: Bryce Williams
Spring Enrollees: Zach Evans
Fall Enrollees: None

Out the Door: Ky Thomas and Mar’Keise Irving

Spring Running Back Preview

It’s safe to say I have concerns about this position.

Last season, injuries afforded the Gophers the opportunity to flex their depth at running back. But the transfer portal has effectively erased that depth, with their top two rushers from last season walking out the door. Ky Thomas transferred to Kansas, and Mar’Keise “Bucky” Irving put his name in the portal earlier this month, reportedly to find a program that can secure him an NIL deal.

That leaves Minnesota will a collection of question marks at the running back position, chief among them being Mohamed Ibrahim. The former Big Ten Running Back of the Year is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon suffered in the season opener last year. When healthy, Ibrahim is one of the best running backs in the country, but there is no guarantee he’ll be 100% this fall.

But there is growing optimism within the program that Trey Potts will be cleared to play this fall. If you recall, Potts was rushed to the hospital by ambulance with an unspecified ailment during the fourth quarter of last season’s game against Purdue. He spent six nights under medical supervision before being allowed to return home with his family to recover. Potts was away from the team until late December, when he was able to attend the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.

Potts made clear via Twitter in December that he planned to make a full recovery and return to playing football in the fall, but there was a great deal of skepticism among those familiar with the specifics of his health scare. It sounds like he is on track to prove them all wrong.

Ibrahim and Potts have both been cleared to participate in non-contact drills during spring practice but neither of them has been cleared for contact yet. That means all eyes this spring are on Bryce Williams and early enrollee Zach Evans. Williams suffered a season-ending ankle injury in late October last season but is practicing this spring. With only four scholarship running backs on the roster this fall, the Gophers are going to count on him to contribute when his number gets called.

The same goes for Evans. He has flashed his quickness and decisiveness in practice this spring, and we’ll likely get a preview of what he can do in the spring game.