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Gophers name starters for football opener against South Dakota State

Minnesota returns up to 9 starters on offense and 7 on defense.

TCF Bank Stadium should be rocking Thursday night as the Gophers kickoff a new season filled with high expectations against South Dakota State. 

On offense, Tanner Morgan will start at quarterback and be surrounded by a huge offensive line, two productive running backs in Rodney Smith and Mohamed Ibrahim, and a pair of high-end wide receivers, Tyler Johnson and Rashad Bateman. 

Defensively, the Gophers have some studs, led by potential All-American defensive end Carter Coughlin, and last year's leading tackler, linebacker Thomas Barber. 

Here's how they'll line up for the 8 p.m. kickoff (televised on FS1) on offense, according to the depth chart released by the team


Starter: Tanner Morgan

Backup: Cole Kramer or Jacob Clark

Running back

Starter: Rodney Smith or Mohamed Ibrahim

Backup: Bryce Williams or Cam Wiley

Wide receivers

Starter 1: Tyler Johnson

Starter 2: Rashad Bateman

Starter 3: Chris Autman-Bell or Demetrius Douglas or Harry Van Dyne

Backups: Seth Green, Clay Geary

Tight end

Starters: Jake Paulsen, Ko Kieft

Backups: Bryce Witham or Brevyn Spann-Ford

Offensive line

LT: Sam Schlueter, 6'6'', 325 lbs. 

LG: Blaise Andries, 6'6'', 325 lbs. 

C: Conner Olson, 6'5'', 305 lbs. 

RG: Curtis Dunlap Jr., 6'5'', 345 lbs. 

RT: Daniel Faalele, 6'9'', 400 lbs. 

This is how Minnesota plans to line up on defense and special teams. 

Defensive line

DE: Winston DeLattiboudere

DT: Sam Renner

DT: Micah Dew-Treadway

DE: Carter Coughlin


OLB: Thomas Barber

MLB: Kamal Martin

OLB: Thomas Rush or Braelen Oliver


DB: Coney Durr or Terell Smith or Philip Howard

DB: Kiandre Thomas or Benjamin St-Juste

DB: Chris Williamson

DB: Antoine Winfield Jr. 

DB: Jordan Howden

Special Teams

Special Teams

K: Michael Lantz or Brock Walker

P: Jacob Herbers

LS: 37 Brady Weeks

KR: Rodney Smith or Demetrius Douglas

PR: Antoine Winfield Jr. or Demetrius Douglas

Holder: Jacob Herbers

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