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Updated: August 27th, 2013 8:14pm
No surprises on Gophers' two-deep for season opener against UNLV

No surprises on Gophers' two-deep for season opener against UNLV

by Nate Sandell
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There were no big surprises when the Gophers unveiled their two-deep in anticipation for their season opener Thursday against UNLV.

As expected, coach Jerry Kill gave no verification on the few depth chart questions that still remain.

The two key position battles on the offensive line at left tackle and center were left open. Redshirt junior left tackle Marek Lenkiewicz was listed side-by-side with 27-game starter Ed Olson, but indications have been that Lenkiewicz will get the start.

Offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover wouldn't budge Sunday when asked who had the advantage at center between redshirt sophomore Jon Christenson and junior Tommy Olson. Olson has made significant strides since shifting over from left tackle in the offseason, but Christenson, who finished last year at center, seems to be the likely choice in Game 1.

In similar fashion to 2012, Kill is waiting until the last minute before showing off who his starting punter will be. It wasn't until game time at UNLV last year that the punting situation was cleared up publicly.

It looks like the situation will be the same this year. Returning starter Christian Eldred, who was thrust into the role midway through the Gophers' opener in Las Vegas last year, is vying with freshman Ryan Santoso, redshirt sophomore Peter Mortell and senior Dan Orseske for the top spot.

After a slight period of uncertainty, senior Chris Hawthorne has been listed as the Gophers' starting kicker, beating out Santoso and fellow freshman Andrew Harte.

With starting cornerback Derrick Wells (shoulder/hamstring) highly questionable for Thursday, rising junior Briean Boddy-Calhoun is pegged to fill the vacancy opposite sophomore Eric Murray.

De'Vondre Campbell, the subject of increasing hype from the coaching staff since he transferred in from Hutchinson Community College, is listed No. 2 at weakside linebacker behind James Manuel. Campbell has received his fair share of first team reps throughout fall camp and should still get plenty of snaps Thursday.

Putting Campbell on the weakside allows senior Aaron Hill to stay rooted on the strongside, while freeing Campbell up to his use intimidating size (6-foot-5, 225-pound) to his advantage in open space on the weakside.

Gophers two-deep vs UNLV


1. Philip Nelson (So, 6-foot-2, 215-pounds)
2. Mitch Leidner (RS Fr. 6-4, 233 R-Fr.)

1. Donnell Kirkwood (RS Jr. 5-10, 223)
2. Rodrick Williams Jr. (So. 5-11, 235)

1. Mike Henry (RS Sr. 6-1, 231) OR Maxx Williams (RS Fr. 6-4, 254)

1. TE Drew Goodger (So. 6-5, 265)
2. TE Lincoln Plsek (So. 6-4, 265)

1. WR Isaac Fruechte (RS Jr. 6-3, 204)
2. WR K.J. Maye (So. 5-10, 197)

1. WR Derrick Engel (RS Jr. 6-2, 187)
2. WR Logan Hutton (RS Jr. 6-1, 181)

Left tackle
1. Marek Lenkiewicz (RS Jr. 6-5, 289) OR Ed Olson (RS Sr. 6-7, 309)

Left guard
1. Zac Epping (RS Jr. 6-2, 321)
2. Joe Bjorklund (RS So. 6-5, 288)

1. Jon Christenson (RS So. 6-4, 306) OR Tommy Olson (Jr. 6-4, 301)

Right guard
1. Caleb Bak (RS Jr. 6-3, 302)
2. Foster Bush (RS So. 6-5, 303)

Right tackle
1. Josh Campion (RS So. 6-5, 326)
2. Ben Lauer (RS Fr. 6-6, 302)


Defensive end
1. Michael Amaefula
2. Ben Perry (RS Jr. 6-5, 253) OR Hank Ekpe (Fr. 6-5, 251)

Defensive tackle
1. Cameron Botticelli (RS Jr. 6-5, 290)
2. Roland Johnson (Sr. 6-1, 286)

Nose tackle
1. Ra'Shede Hageman (RS Sr. 6-6, 311)
2. Scott Ekpe (So. 6-4, 281)

Defensive end
1. Theiren Cockran (RS So. 6-6, 238)
2. Alex Keith (So. 6-3, 237)

Strongside linebacker
1. Aaron Hill (RS Sr. 6-2, 231)
2. Nick Rallis (RS Fr. 5-11, 227)

Middle linebacker
1. Damien Wilson (Jr. 6-2, 254) OR Jack Lynn (RS Fr. 6-3, 234)

Weakside linebacker
1. James Manuel (Sr. 6-2, 225)
2. De'Vondre Campbell (RS So. 6-5, 225)

1. Eric Murray (So. 6-0, 194)
2. Jeremy Baltazar (Sr. 6-0, 197)

1. Brock Vereen (Sr. 6-0, 202)
2. Damarius Travis (So. 6-2, 208)

1. Cedric Thompson (Jr. 5-10, 211)
2. Antonio Johnson (So. 6-0 207)

1. Briean Boddy-Calhoun (Jr. 5-11, 186) OR Derrick Wells (Jr. 6-0, 206)
2. Martez Shabazz (Sr. 5-11, 172)

Special teams

1. Chris Hawthorne (Sr. 6-6, 200)
2. Andrew Harte (Fr. 6-0, 180) OR Ryan Santoso (Fr. 6-5, 260)

1. Christian Eldred (Jr. 6-3, 185) OR Peter Mortell (RS So. 6-2, 195) OR Dan Orseske (RS Sr. 6-3, 205) OR Ryan Santoso (Fr. 6-5, 260)

Long snapper
1. Jake Filkins (Sr. 6-2, 240)
2. Dave Ramlet (RS Jr. 6-2, 238) OR Jared Hartman (RS So. 6-3, 229)

Kick return
1. Marcus Jones (Jr. 5-8, 166)
2. Antonio Johnson (So. 6-0, 207)

Punt return
1. Marcus Jones (Jr. 5-8, 166)
2. K.J. Maye (So. 5-10, 197)

Nate Sandell is a contributor to
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