Head Coach Jerry Kill and the rest of the Golden Gopher football team got a nice gift this weekend, in the form of senior cornerback and kick returner Troy Stoudermire. Stoudermire was granted a 5th year of eligibility by the Big Ten, due to medical hardship. That hardship came in the form of a broken forearm in a Week 3 win vs. Miami(OH).
This is big for the Gophers, as Stoudermire has been the #1 corner the last 2 years, and a terrific return man (in fact he’s the Big Ten’s all-time kick return yardage leader). This is also somewhat ironic – given that midway thru his career at Minnesota, Stoudemire looked to be ready to leave the Gophers during a suspension applied by then Head Coach Tim Brewster his junior year. But he came around, and ultimately decided that making the change from WR to CB wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. He transitioned well to cornerback, well enough that he began drawing the matchup with the opposing teams’ #1 wideouts.
Any help the Gophers can get on their woebegone defense is welcome, especially when it comes in the form of experienced veterans. And it’s doubly helpful when it means that D-coordinator Tracy Claeys has some additional depth to work with on the unit that was the weakest in 2011.
On a personal level, Troy was one of my favorite players on the squad in 2010 (his last full season), and he clearly worked hard to become a respectable cornerback. Very pleased to have him back for one last year. Now if we can just get that rare 6th year of eligibility for Trevor Mbakwe, we’ll really have something going.