Sept. 22, 2022: Gophers star WR Chris Autman-Bell suffered a lower-leg injury in last week’s 49-7 win over Colorado, and now Minnesota faces the tall task of replacing their No. 1 receiver.
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The Gophers will reportedly seek a 7th-year of eligibility for Chris Autman-Bell, but it is ultimately down to Chris if he wants to return. Thus far, he has totaled 125 catches, 1,970 yards and 13 touchdowns in his collegiate career. Minnesota’s top five healthy WRs on their roster have accumulated 107 catches, 1,599 yards and seven TDs… combined. There is certainly talent on the roster to replace CrAB’s production, but they will need all hands on deck, and his veteran on-field leadership might be irreplaceable.
- Career stats: 22 catches, 423 yards, 3 TDs
The first name that most Gophers fans have mentioned to replace Chris Autman-Bell is former Texas A&M transfer, Dylan [Day-Lynn] Wright. Listed at 6-foot-4, the former top-70 recruit in 2019 has all of the tools to be an absolute superstar. The die-hard fans know how much hype he has gotten during spring and fall camp and truly how high his potential can be. He showed it last year in week one with five catches for 57 yards and one touchdown, now it’s time to show it consistently. Dylan Wright might be one of the most talented players on this football team, it’s now time to turn it into production for the Maroon & Gold.
(TE) Brevyn Spann-Ford
- Career stats: 36 catches, 452 yards, 4 TDs
Brevyn Spann-Ford is a player that most Gophers fans have been begging to get more involved in the offense, almost since he arrived on campus. BSF is likely now the most experienced pass-catcher on the roster. He has already had his best start to a collegiate season with eight catches for 127 yards and a touchdown through three games. The former St. Cloud Tech High School standout will now have even more of a chance to become an integral part of this Gophers passing attack.
- Career stats: 33 catches, 539 yards, 2 TDs
Michael Brown-Stephens has been almost the wild-card of the Gophers’ passing attack over the last couple of seasons. He has proven to be the most versatile receiver on the roster with the ability to line up in the slot, out-wide, or even in the backfield in certain situations. He has as good of an argument as any to be the best route-runner on the roster and I think that has shown on Saturdays. He was the most targeted player on the team for about six quarters, so it is fair to say that Morgan, Ciarrocca and Fleck trust him. He has the skill to add a very dangerous weapon to this Gophers’ offense.
- Career stats: 39 catches, 460 yards, 1 TD
Much like Wright, Daniel Jackson is a former 4-star prospect himself. He showed his potential as a true freshman playing five games and grabbing 12 catches. Since then he has struggled with remaining on the field, battling injuries and popping in and out of the lineup. Last week against Colorado was his first game back from a lower-leg injury and he looked fresh grabbing two balls for 26 yards. The talent is certainly there and Jackson rounds out three now relatively veteran wide receivers Minnesota can rely on going forward.
- Career stats: 3 catches, 47 yards
Brockington is likely the least known name on this list. Graduating high school in 2021, he has not had the same level of experience as other players in the group, but he certainly has the talent. As a former top-600 recruit, the Georgia native chose Minnesota over top offers from Miami (FL), Tennessee and Kentucky. Joining Rashod Bateman as the second and only other Georgia native to don No. 0 for the Maroon & Gold, Brockington has a bright future ahead in his Gophers career. Listed at 6-feet tall, he has become the wildcard in this group in CrAB’s absence.
- Career stats: 10 catches, 130 yards, 1 TD
With CrAB now out, Clay Geary is truly the elder statesman in this group. Graduating from Lakeville South High School in 2016, he caught the first touchdown of his career only last week against Colorado. With only 10 catches in his six-year career, most of his playing time has come on special teams. He might never log more than three targets in a game this season, but his veteran leadership and experience will earn him a role on this team going forward.
- (FR) Ike White
- (RS-FR) Dino Kaliakmanis
- (RS-FR) Quentin Redding
- (TEs) Nick Kallerup/Jameson Geers