Gophers WR Andre McDonald not going to play this season, Kill says
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Gophers sophomore wide receiver Andre McDonald's suspension is likely to last the remainder of the season, coach Jerry Kill stated at his weekly press conference Tuesday.
"Right now he's not going to play for us this semester. That's all I'm going to say on that," Kill said.
McDonald, who has battled off-field issues since his arrival at Minnesota a year ago, was removed from the Gophers' 105-man roster midway through fall camp due to "violation of team policy."
Kill said at the time McDonald's status would be reevaluated after the Gophers' opening game against UNLV, but now with the season entering its second week there has been no change in his stance on the matter.
After being suspended for the Gophers' bowl appearance last December and not enrolling for spring semester classes, McDonald rejoined the team in the summer and was working his back in with a receiving corps that could use the boost from the talented 6-foot-2, 200-pound former Hopkins high school star.
When McDonald was cleared to participate in fall camp, the coaching staff was "cautiously optimistic" that he would be able to take the steps on and off the field to be a key piece at receiver this season.
The intriguing aspect of McDonald's situation, many of the details of which have been kept strictly in-house, is that Kill has continued to leave open the possibility of the receiver's return. McDonald remains on the Gophers' full roster, despite being currently suspended for the year.
Without McDonald, owner 10 catches for 121 yards in eight games last season, the Gophers entered the season with one less option with game experience in a receiving unit still trying to find an identity.
The Gophers totaled only 99 passing yards in a 51-23 victory against UNLV that was largely dictated by special teams and defensive plays. Of the 22 passes quarterback Philip Nelson threw on Thursday, 14 were intended for his wide receivers, with six of those being brought in for 51 yards, 30 of which were credited to sophomor Z-receiver K.J. Maye.
Maye, redshirt senior Derrick Engel, redshirt junior Isaac Fruechte are the Gophers' top current options at receiver. But with depth at the position still in need of being established, Kill has said on multiple occasions in the last few days that freshman receivers Donovahn Jones, Drew Wolitarsky and Eric Carter are being geared up to become more integrated into the offense as the year goes on.