Gophers football lands 10 on Phil Steele preseason All-Big Ten list

Mohamed Ibrahim #24 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers rushes the ball in the first half against the Maryland Terrapins at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium on October 30, 2020 in College Park, Maryland.  ((Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images))

The University of Minnesota football season is a little more than 70 days away, but anticipation is already building for the Gophers to host Ohio State on national TV on Thursday, Sept. 2, at TCF Bank Stadium.

That’s especially magnified after Minnesota Athletic Director Mark Coyle announced earlier this week that Gophers sports venues will operate at full fan capacity starting in the fall. That means there should be a full house when the Gophers host the Buckeyes.

Earlier this week, Phil Steele Publications released is preseason All-Big Ten teams, and 10 Gophers are on it. Minnesota had seven offensive, and three defensive players selected. The seven offensive players matches Ohio State for the most in the Big Ten.

Offensive lineman Conner Olson, and running back Mo Ibrahim were selected First Team All-Big Ten. Olson is one of the anchors of an offensive line that brings back everyone from the 2020 season, and adds Daniel Fa’alele back after opting out, and should have Curtis Dunlap Jr. back from injury. Ibrahim returns as the reigning Big Ten Running Back of the Year after leading the league in rushing (1,076 yards) and rushing touchdowns (15) despite having two games canceled due to COVID-19 issues.

Quarterback Tanner Morgan and offensive lineman Blaise Andries were named to the second team. Morgan had a historic sophomore season in 2019, leading the Gophers to an 11-2 record and win over Auburn in the Outback Bowl. Wide receiver Chris Autman-Bell, and offensive linemen John Michael Schmitz and Fa’alele were selected Third Team. Autman-Bell returns as Minnesota’s leading receiver from last season after making 22 catches for 430 yards, averaging 19.5 yards per catch, and scoring one touchdown.

The Gophers had defensive back Coney Durr and defensive lineman Nyles Pinckney selected Third team. Linebacker Mariano Sori-Marin was also selected Fourth Team. Durr finished fourth on the Gophers last year with 29 tackles in seven games, adding one interception and five pass break-ups. Pinckney, a transfer from Clemson, will be an immediate contributor on the defensive line and Sori-Marin led the Minnesota defense with 54 tackles las season.