Seniors graduate and that means other players have to step up.
The Minnesota football team lost one of their best defensive lineman of the past decade, Ra’Shede Hageman, but the consensus shows that the rest of the defensive line is primed to have big 2014-15 seasons in his absence.
Aside from Hageman last season there were a few guys that had nice years. Theiren Cockran recorded 7.5 sacks and had 10.5 tackles for losses, which resembled Hageman’s stats slightly. Cameron Boticelli, an upcoming senior, recorded 23 tackles, 5.5 for losses in 2013-14.
Botticelli and Cockran are poised to lead the Gophers’ front four, and trends show that each will have bigger seasons than last year.
Jerry Kill is also great at recruiting defensive lineman. In his past programs as head coach, Kill had two defensive line players selected in the first-round of the NFL draft, Larry English and Lamar King. Hageman will likely be added to that list as he is projected to be drafted in the late first-round of this year’s draft.
The Gophers pride themselves on playing defense, Hageman is only one guy out of 11 that make contributions to the team on defense. Kill organizes a ‘family’ like atmosphere where every player feels at home and lives up to their potential.
Instead of freaking out about Hageman heading to the NFL, people should be proud of the former Gopher and realize that the football program is in better hands than ever.
The Gophers will still have a good defensive line and football team next season. The right guys just need to step up and it looks as if that will happen.