File this story under news you don’t want your team to have before the bowl season. Minnesota has indefinitely suspended 10 players from team activities for violations of team rules. The extent of the violations was not revealed by the university due to privacy restrictions, but it did list which players have been suspended. Among the suspended players are starting safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and kick and punt returners KiAnte Hardin and Antonio Shenault.
Winfield, a freshman, is Minnesota’s fourth-leading tackler this season and he has the only interception returned for a touchdown by the Gophers this year (and 82-yard return against Maryland). Hardin tied for the team-high with two interceptions this season and he returned 10 kickoffs for 260 yards this season. Shenault only returned five punts this fall for a total of 32 yards.
Other players facing indefinite suspensions include freshman defensive backs Ray Buford and Dior Johnson, sophomore running back Carlton Djam, freshman quarterbacks Seth Green and Mark Williams, freshman defensive lineman Tamarion Johnson and junior running back Kobe McCrary. McCrary rushed 39 times in 12 games for 242 yards and three touchdowns. Djam appeared in just one game and carried the ball seven times for 33 yards.
For Buford, Hardin, Dior Johnson and Tamarion Johnson, this is the second time they have faced a suspension this season at Minnesota. All four missed three games while a police investigation was ongoing for an alleged sexual assault incident that took place in early September. No charges were pressed and all four were reinstated by the program.
Because these are indefinite suspensions, it remains unknown for sure whether or not any of these players will be available for Minnesota’s upcoming bowl game. The Gophers are playing Washington State in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 27 in San Diego.