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Minnesota safety Kendarian Handy-Holly reportedly headed to Auburn

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Auburn has picked up a quality addition on the transfer market according to several reports out of the Plains.

AL.com and AuburnSports.com are both reporting that Minnesota sophomore Kendarian Handy-Holly will be joining the Tigers football team and, surprisingly, doing so as a walk-on this fall.

While such a move is a bit surprising considering he made 12 tackles and played in eight games for the Gophers as a true freshman last season, the safety is from Jackson, Alabama so this is a move that brings him much, much closer to home.

Handy-Holly has good size for the position at 6-foot-2 and 202 pounds and was originally considered to be a three-star recruit coming out of high school.

The move home should boost a secondary that has had to replace several big names the past couple of seasons. Handy-Holly will, however, have to sit out the 2018 season following his transfer but will have three more years of eligibility starting in 2019.

Minnesota’s been rowing through recruiting pickups this weekend

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It seems that Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck has been busy this weekend making his recruiting pitches. Sunday was quite a busy day for the Gophers recruiting news with the addition of a quartet of three-star recruits to help pad the defensive depth for the program.

Defensive tackle Deangelo Griffin, safety T.J. Robinson, and linebackers Donald Willis and James Gordon IV all committed to the Gophers for the Class of 2019. All are considered three-star players by recruiting services and should help add some depth to the Minnesota roster. Robinson, Griffin, and Gordon shared their announcements on Twitter, with the appropriate photos of them posing with Fleck and an oar.

Perhaps even more promising for Fleck is from where these recruits are coming. Willis is from Ohio. Gordon and Robinson are from Florida. Griffin is from Georgia. For Minnesota, the need to build some recruiting pipelines in football-talent rich states like these is essential because the Gophers simply cannot rely heavily on in-state talent if the quality of the roster is to improve.

Minnesota is coming off a 5-7 season in Fleck’s Big Ten debut. It was the first season without a bowl trip for the Gophers since 2011.

Nine current, former football players suing Minnesota for $45M in federal discrimination lawsuit

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The fallout from an ugly incident in 2016 involving the football team continues to affect the University of Minnesota and the latest battle ground now appears to be a federal court.

ESPN has obtained a new lawsuit filed against the school on Friday, which alleges “racial and gender discrimination; intentional, willful, and malicious misconduct; and deliberate indifference” from the university that caused damage to nine current and former Gophers football players. Ten players were initially involved in the original sexual assault incident that led to various suspensions and expulsions from the program but the report does not say which of the group is not participating in the lawsuit. It does however point out that three current members of the 2018 team are involved with the lawsuit: Antoine Winfield Jr., Seth Green and Antonio Shenault.

“We are aware of the lawsuit served on behalf of several current and former students,” the school said in a statement released to ESPN. “The University thoughtfully and thoroughly responds when faced with disturbing allegations, and provides extensive process to students accused of misconduct, including the opportunity to be heard during thorough investigations, panel hearings, and Provost review. Further, aggrieved students have a right to review by the Minnesota Court of Appeals. We will vigorously defend the University.”

The lawyers for the group are seeking $45 million in damages, or about $5 million per player.

While there are a lot of details involved in the story, most will remember the initial fallout from 10 players getting suspended when the Gophers entire football team held a short boycott of activities shortly before they played in the Holiday Bowl. The team eventually relented from the boycott and went on to beat Washington State in the game but the damage was already done to many involved and then-head coach Tracy Claeys was eventually fired after supporting his players in the matter (he somewhat ironically was later hired by the Cougars as their new defensive coordinator).

No charges were brought in the matter by prosecutors but the heart of the lawsuit alleges mishandling by the university in how they dealt with the case internally — including the eventual suspensions and expulsions of the 10 players. It goes without saying that this will be something to keep an eye out for over the coming months and years, to say nothing of the awkwardness of having three Gophers playing for and suing their own school at the same time this season.

Minnesota QB Vic Viramontes transferring leaves Gophers with 4 inexperienced QBs on roster

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Just months after joining the Minnesota program as a JUCO transfer, quarterback Vic Viramontes is reportedly looking to find a new place to continue his football career. According to a report from Pioneer Press, a desire to play a different position is what Viramontes is interested in.

Viramontes came to Minnesota in January as a sophomore, and he played quarterback for the Gophers in the spring game. In that game, Viramontes split playing time with Zach Annesstad, in which he completed one of three passes for one yard and rushed for 21 yards with two fumbles.

Viramontes previously committed to California after flipping from Michigan out of high school. After redshirting with the Bears as a freshman, Viramontes took his game to Riverside Community College in California and passed for 1,868 yards and 22 touchdowns and rushed for 1,346 yards and 21 touchdowns, making him one of the top dual-threat quarterback options out of the JUCO ranks. But after a rough spring showing at Minnesota, Viramontes having a desire to play a new position is an interesting development, and clearly, a change in scenery is also desired as a result for one reason or another.

Last November, former starting quarterback for Minnesota Demry Croft made a decision to transfer, which resulted in a move to FCS Tennessee State. Viramontes was supposed to add some depth and some starting experience to the depth at Minnesota, but now the position will be a bit more young and inexperienced going into this season without any further incoming transfers. Tanner Morgan, a redshirt freshman, appears to be the likely starter for the Gophers this season. Annexstad, a walk-on freshman, could potentially be the first backup option after the spring. As of now, Minnesota has two other redshirt freshmen listed on the official roster at quarterback; Samuel Pickerign and Jon Santaga.

UPDATE: According to Randy Johnson of the Star Tribune, Viramontes is going back to Riverside to play linebacker.

Minnesota lands commitment from ex-Texas DT Chris Daniels

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After a brief sabbatical, Chris Daniels appears on the verge of heading back to a Power Five conference program.

On his personal Twitter account over the weekend, Daniels confirmed that he is “FULLY COMMITTED to The University of Minnesota.” Daniels, though, will spend the 2018 season at a Mississippi junior college before moving on to the Twin Cities.

When he comes to the Gophers for the 2019 season, he’ll have three years of eligibility at his disposal.

According to 247Sports.com, Daniels committed to Minnesota over an offer from Missouri.

A four-star member of Texas’ 2016 recruiting class, Daniels was rated as the No. 22 defensive tackle in the country and the No. 27 player at any position in the state of Texas. Only one defensive lineman signed by the Longhorns in their class that year, fellow tackle Jordan Elliott, was rated higher than Daniels. Interestingly, Elliott also transferred from UT in May of last year and ultimately landed at… Missouri, where his position coach is former Longhorns defensive line coach Brick Haley.

After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Daniels took his leave of the Longhorns shortly after the start of the 2017 season.