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Minnesota Golden Gophers recruiting report: Linebackers

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The linebacker positions were the biggest question marks surrounding the Minnesota Golden Gophers last offseason.

Several players on most two-deep rosters from the 2012 roster were not back in 2013, including two starters.

Junior college transfer Damien Wilson took over as the starting middle linebacker and excelled. He started all 13 games last season and led the team in tackles. Fellow junior college transfer De’Vondre Campbell earned a few starts last season, but should become a full-time starter on the weak side this season with James Manuel graduated.

Nick Rallis spent last season as a backup on the strong side to senior Aaron Hill. The redshirt sophomore is the likely starter next season.

The expected starters will be pushed by redshirt sophomore Jack Lynn in the middle and redshirt freshmen De’Niro Laster, Chris Wipson and Ray Dixon on the outside.

The Gophers signed sophomore junior college transfer Cody Poock from Iowa Western. He enrolled at Minnesota and will participate in spring practices. He is a three-star rated prospect from both Rivals and ESPN. He also had offers from six schools, including Illinois and North Dakota State.

The Gophers also have two commitments from high school prospects.

Jonathan Celestin from Mundy’s Mill Farm High School in Jonesboro, Ga. is a three-star rated prospect by ESPN and two-star by Rivals. He did not have any other offers.

The other outside linebacker commitment is Everett Williams from Mansfield Legacy High School in Mansfield, Texas. He is also rated as a three-star prospect by ESPN and two-star by Rivals. ESPN rated him as an athlete, not as a linebacker. He also had offers from three schools from non-AQ schools.

The Gophers remain in contention with two prospects, but neither are expected to sign with Minnesota.



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