Gophers flip Western Michigan transfer RB Sean Tyler

Jan. 13, 2022: Western Michigan transfer RB Sean Tyler committed to the Gophers Friday, becoming the Gophers’ sixth official off-season addition from the transfer portal.

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Arguably the Gophers’ biggest addition of this transfer portal cycle came Friday when Western Michigan RB announced his flip from Oklahoma State to Minnesota. Listed at 5-foot-9, 170 pounds, Tyler has had back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons for the Broncos and totaled 2,830 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns throughout his college career. On3 sports rated Tyler as the No. 5 ranked running back in the portal and No. 69 ranked overall player. With so much veteran experience and production, he will likely slot into the Gophers’ No. 1 RB role next season, which will be his final collegiate season as a graduate transfer.

Who is Sean Tyler?:

Originally from Olympia Fields, Illinois, Tyler broke onto the scene as a track star at Rich Central Campus High School. In large part due to his small frame, he was criminally under-recruited out of high school earning only two FBS offers from Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan, before settling in Kalamazoo. As a true freshman, he quickly showed that he was better than the 1,681st-best recruit in the 2019 class. With 390 rushing yards and 5 TDs, he only improved throughout his career, most recently earning second-team All-MAC honors as a redshirt senior.

  • Scouting Report:

Tyler is not Mo Ibrahim, he will likely never have more than 20 carries in a game with the Gophers, he had only done so three times in his college career, all coming last season. With all that being said, I still believe that he will lead this team in carries. He is a complete back with NFL-level speed and great hands, he is just a bit undersized. Matt Simon will have a serious weapon to be creative within the backfield.

Instant Reaction:

Coach Fleck and the Gophers are not messing around when it comes to adding talent around Athan Kaliakmanis. Sean Tyler’s addition makes me believe that the staff either thinks Trey Potts is leaving for the transfer portal, or they believe he does not have the juice pre-injury. Both could be true, but at the end of the day, they probably saw Tyler as a serious upgrade. I don’t think Potts has the same burst he had pre-injury so adding a veteran talent like Tyler to a position group that lacked such is a major pickup. With so much young talent (Zach Evans, Darius Taylor, and Marquese Williams) adding a player like Sean Tyler will do wonders for this position group next season.

What is next?:

Minnesota’s transfer portal additions are now at five. They’ve hit five positions of need. If I were the Gophers, the defensive line and offensive line would’ve been the two biggest position groups that I would’ve targeted, and they’ve only added one player there (Chris Collins). So heading into the rest of the offseason, that would be an area they should look to improve.

The winter transfer portal window officially closes in five days (Jan. 18), so the action will certainly slow down. It will open back again in the spring, so the Gophers are likely far from over building their 2023-24 roster, but they’ve had a great start thus far.

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