Gophers football has 4 players invited to NFL Combine

Minnesota Golden Gophers running back Mohamed Ibrahim (24) scores a touchdown during the college football game between the North Western Wildcats and Minnesota Gophers on November 12th, 2022, at Huntington Bank in Minneapolis, MN.  ((Photo by Bailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images))

For the second straight year and third time in four years, the University of Minnesota football team will send four players to the NFL Combine.

The annual showcase for NFL Draft prospects will take place Feb. 28-March 6 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The Gophers announced Tuesday that Mo Ibrahim, John Michael Schmitz, Terell Smith and Jordan Howden have all gotten invitations.

The Gophers have had 12 players drafted in the last four seasons under PJ Fleck, the most for the program in any type of stretch since 1994.

In his final season with the Gophers, Howden started 12 games and had 51 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, four pass break-ups and two interceptions. Howden earned All-Big Ten Honorable Mention honors this season and recently played in the East-West Shrine Bowl. In 57 career games, Howden made 233 tackles, had 4.5 tackles for loss and four interceptions.

Ibrahim goes to the NFL Combine as Minnesota’s all-time leading rusher. He finished his Gophers’ career with school records for rushing yards (4,668), rushing yards per game (113.9), rushing touchdowns (53), total touchdowns (53), 100-yard rushing games (24) and 200-yard rushing games (5). This year, he established Gopher single-season school records for rushing yards (1,665), rushing touchdowns (20), rushing attempts (320), total touchdowns (20) and points (120). 

Ibrahim had 19 straight 100-yard games, and was the Big Ten Running Back of the Year in 2020.

Schmitz played in 57 games in his career for the Gophers, starting 35 at center. He was the Gophers’ first All-American since Antoine Winfield Jr. in 2019, and the first offensive lineman to earn the honor since Greg Eslinger in 2005. Schmitz was a finalist this season for the Rimington Trophy, and semifinalist for the Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award. Schmitz was the highest-graded offensive lineman in college football this season, according to Pro Football Focus. 

Smith finished his fifth season with the Gophers making all 13 starts. He finished with 38 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, five pass break-ups and two interceptions. He also forced one fumble.

After the NFL Combine, the Gophers will also host a Pro Day for local prospects in March.

The 2023 NFL Draft is set for April 27-29 in Kansas City.