Gophers football depth chart projections

–> The Gophers 2023 Spring Game kicks off this Saturday at 11:00 a.m. I thought there was no time better than the present to look at a potential depth chart.

Follow @Tony Liebert on Twitter


Last season under offensive coordinator Kick Ciarrocca, the Gophers’ offense averaged 28.2 PPG (66th-best in FBS). They averaged 182.2 passing yards per game and 207.3 on the ground. Ciarrocca is now gone along with Tanner Morgan, Mohamed Ibrahim and John Michael-Schmitz. With Greg Harbaugh Jr. and Matt Simon now as co-OCs, the Athan-era officially underway and plenty of new talent at WR, the Maroon & Gold are entering a new era of offensive football under P.J. Fleck.


  1. Athan Kaliakmanis
  2. Cole Kramer
  3. Drew Viotto
  4. Max Shikenjanski

We are officially entering the Athan Kaliakmanis era. He showed flashes of brilliance last season most notably going 19/29 for 319 yards and 2TDs in an impressive road victory over Wisconsin. With the transfer of former South Dakota Gatorade POTY Jacob Knuth, the reserve role is essentially given to Cole Kramer. True freshman Drew Viotto from Michigan has looked impressive during practice, and walk-on freshman Max Shikenjanski from Stillwater, MN will round out the room.

Running Backs:

  1. Sean Tyler
  2. Zach Evans
  3. Bryce Williams
  4. Darius Taylor
  5. Marquese Williams
  6. Jordan Nubin

Legendary running back Mohamed Ibrahim is out of eligibility and Trey Potts has transferred home to Penn State. The Gophers RB room will look very different this season. Western Michigan transfer Sean Tyler will have a massive role on this team, but listed at 5-foot-8, 185 pounds his workload will not mimic Ibrahim’s. Veteran Bryce Williams will provide some much-needed experience while talented freshmen Zach Evans and Darius Taylor have shown serious potential this spring. Marquese Williams will start a step behind arriving in the summer, but will still have the potential to make some noise.

Offensive Line:

  • LT: Aireontae Ersery
    • Logan Purcell
  • LG: Tyler Cooper
    • Karter Shaw
  • C: Nathan Boe
    • Karter Shaw
  • RG: Quinn Carroll
    • Karter Shaw
  • RT: Martes Lewis
    • J.J. Gudet

The offensive line is the Gophers’ biggest question mark on the offensive side of the ball. With John Michael Schmitz off the NFL, this will be the first time in a few seasons that Minnesota will not have a sure-fire pro in the trenches. Aireontae Ersery will need to take a step forward for this group to be elite. Quinn Carroll has moved inside to right guard which I believe is a much more natural position for his skillset. Martes Lewis, Nathan Boe and Tyler Cooper will likely all be first-year starters and Karter Shaw will likely act as the swing option. Overall Brian Callahan has shown the ability to be an elite offensive line coach and he will need to prove it again this season.

Wide Receivers:

  • 1x: Daniel Jackson
  • 1y: Chris Autman-Bell
    • 2y: Elijah Spencer
  • 1sa: Lemeke Brockington
  • 1sb: Corey Crooms Jr.
    • 2s: Kristen Hoskins

The wide receiver position has seen a big change for the Gophers this off-season. Dylan Wright, Michael Brown-Stephens and Ike White are in the transfer portal while Western Michigan transfer Corey Crooms Jr. and Charlotte transfer Elijah Spencer are coming in. Veteran Chris Autman-Bell returns for a seventh season, while Daniel Jackson has a chance to become the true No. 1 option. Young slot options Lemeke Brockington and Kristen Hoskins will have a role as well. Overall Minnesota runs six deep with a lot of different options with a lot of different skill sets.

Tight Ends:

  1. Brevyn Spann-Ford
  2. Nick Kallerup
  3. Jameson Geers
  4. Nathan Jones
  5. Wyatt Schroeder

Brevyn Spann-Ford has a realistic chance to be the best offensive player on this football team. He put together career numbers last season with 42 catches for 497 yards and two touchdowns. This season he could make some noise in the race for the John Mackey Award. Nick Kallerup and Jameson Geers also return as some solid depth, as the Gophers return all top five of their tight ends from last season.


Last season the Gophers’ defense was one of the best units in college football. They allowed only 13.8 points per game the fourth-best mark in the FBS. After losing Moriano Sori-Marin, Terell Smith, Jordan Howden and Thomas Rush to the NFL plus Michael Dixon, Trill Carter and Beanie Bishop to the transfer portal, there is PLENTY of talent to replace. Tyler Nubin, Jah Joyner, Justin Walley and Cody Lindenberg will now be asked to be the leaders for Joe Rossi and the Gophers.

Defensive Ends:

  1. Danny Striggow
  2. Jah Joyner
  3. Jalen Logan-Redding
  4. Anthony Smith
  5. Chris Collins

If there were any struggles for the Gophers’ defense last season it was certainly getting pressure on the quarterback. After losing Thomas Rush to the next level and Austin Booker to the portal (Kansas), they return much of their production from last season. Striggow and Joyner were clearly the two most effective pass rushers last season. Jalen Logan-Redding was a very effective run-stopper as well. Talented former 4-star RS-FR Anthony Smith has been one of the stars of spring practice, while UNC transfer Chris Collins (ankle) has not been able to yet get into the fold.

Defensive Tackles:

  1. Kyler Baugh
  2. Deven Eastern
  3. Darnell Jefferies
  4. Jacob Schuster
  5. Logan Richter
  6. Luther McCoy
  7. Martin Owusu

Losing Trill Carter to the portal might be the Gophers’ biggest loss of the offseason, but there is still plenty of talent up front. Former Houston Christian transfer Kyler Baugh proved more than capable of being a starting Big Ten player last season. Deven Eastern has also been a winner of spring practice and has the chance to be one of the breakout players on this defense. Veteran former Clemson transfer Darnell Jefferies provides some nice depth, while Jacob Schuster, Logan Richter, Luther McCoy and Martin Owusu all have the chance to play a role on this team.


  1. Cody Lindenberg
  2. Ryan Selig
  3. Lucas Finnesey
  4. Maverick Barnowski
  5. Derik LeCaptain
  6. Joey Gerlach

The Gophers’ linebackers have been a stable of a Joe Rossi-led defense. Cody Lindenberg has all the skills to be next in line for elite No. 1 options at the position. Western Michigan transfer Ryan Selig was brought in to replace Braelen Oliver (Georgia Tech) and Donald Willis who were lost in the transfer portal. Lucas Finnesey, Maverick Barnowski and Joey Gerlach will all fight for the third option, while Derik LeCaptain (ACL) is still recovering from injury. Overall this is a position that could use another body from the transfer portal, but there is still plenty of talent for Rossi to work with.


  • OCB1: Justin Walley
  • OCB2: Tariq Watson
  • OCB3: Miles Flemming
  • OCB4: Victor Pless
  • OCB5: Rhyland Kelly

The cornerback position should be priority No. 1 for the Gophers in the spring transfer portal window. Justin Walley is back as a true No. 1 option. But behind him, Tariq Watson, Miles Flemming, Victor Pless and Rhyland Kelly have zero career starts combined. Losing Beanie Bishop (West Virginia) and Ryan Stapp (medical retirement) took a big hit on this position group. Tariq Watson has the chance to be a breakout star on this defense, but as a redshirt freshman that is a lot to ask for a player. Adding at least one veteran transfer to this group would fix the issue.


  1. Tyler Nubin
  2. Jack Henderson
  3. Darius Green
  4. Coleman Bryson

The safety position is my favorite on the Gophers’ defense. Tyler Nubin is likely the best player on this team and one of the best defensive players in the Big Ten. Jack Henderson is a fun transfer from SE Louisiana, Coleman Bryson had a pick-6 in the Pinstripe Bowl as a true freshman and Darius Green is a very versatile option from the back end. Overall Green and Henderson would likely play a lot of slot cornerback with the current roster, but there are not many better groups of four safeties in the conference.

Special Teams:

Long Snappers:

  1. Brady Weeks
  2. Ryan Algrim

Starter Brady Weeks returns for another season while true freshman Ryan Algrim replaces Austin Sullivan who transferred to UConn.


  1. Dragan Kesich
  2. Jacob Lewis
  3. David Kemp

The Gophers have three options to replace Matthew Trickett at kicker. Dragan Kesich will likely retain his kickoff role, while Ball State and Memphis transfers Jacob Lewis and David Kemp will compete for the field goal role.


  1. Mark Crawford
  2. Ryan Shamburger
  3. Caleb McGrath

Crawford returns for another season at punter, while Shamburger will return as the backup and talented freshman Caleb McGrath will have his first season on campus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *