Minnesota Golden Gophers’ Top 10 Returning Players in 2024 Include Darius Taylor, Daniel Jackson

    P.J. Fleck and the top 10 returning players for the Minnesota Golden Gophers look to put a down year behind them with a strong 2024.

    It’s a big year for the Minnesota Golden Gophers and head coach P.J. Fleck. A down season last fall left fans wanting more; some even have their coach on the hot seat. Fortunately, their top 10 returning players for the 2024 season should spark hope for the future, and we dive into what each of them brings to the table.

    Minnesota Golden Gophers’ Top 10 Returners in 2024

    Analyzing the returning players at every school is a difficult task in the transfer portal area. As such, we’ve included transfer-portal athletes that were included on each team’s roster page to open fall camp in addition to the rostered players from last year.

    10) Max Brosmer, QB

    It’s not a secret that the Minnesota Golden Gophers want to improve through the air offensively. After a year in which they averaged just 143.4 yards per game passing, P.J. Fleck and his staff went to the portal to add a quarterback.

    Initially landing Logan Fife from Fresno State, they also added New Hampshire’s Max Brosmer. When Fife entered the portal again, it became Brosmer’s job to lose.

    A multi-year starter for the Wildcats, Brosmer comes to the Golden Gophers after throwing for 3,459 yards and 29 touchdowns.

    While he’ll be introduced to a new offense, Brosmer has the arm talent to revive the team’s passing attack. It doesn’t even need to be much, but fans should be excited about what he brings to the table.

    9) Maverick Baranowski, LB

    One of the biggest questions surrounding Fleck’s squad is what the defense will look like under new leadership. Corey Hetherman takes over for Joe Rossi as defensive coordinator, and he inherits an experienced group. Linebacker will be a deep position, and Maverick Baranowski is ready to take another step for this unit.

    The redshirt sophomore from Ponce Inlet, Florida, saw his first full season of action last year, and there were plenty of bumps along the way. Yet he worked through those struggles to become a reliable player for this Minnesota defense.

    8) Danny Striggow, DE

    Many don’t know the name Danny Striggow, but he’s been a reliable contributor for the Gophers’ defense the last couple of years.

    He’s produced 12.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks in his career with this team, and it will be interesting to see how he adapts to Hetherman’s system.

    7) Justin Walley, CB

    Fleck’s staff produced several NFL draft picks in the secondary, the latest being safety Tyler Nubin, and that shouldn’t change after this year. While the buzz surrounding Justin Walley’s game died down a little last year, he’s still a future NFL player.

    He stands 5’11” and 190 pounds, so his frame isn’t a concern at the next level. The Gophers secondary also faces plenty of future NFL talent, so Walley will get multiple opportunities to showcase his skill set in 2024.

    6) Jah Joyner, DE

    Minnesota’s approach to recruiting has been all about fit, and certain players fly under the radar because of that. Once they hit the field, though, it’s fun to watch them prove their worth. Guys like Jah Joyner come in with a chip on their shoulder, and it fuels how they play on every down.

    MORE: 2024 Big Ten Weekly Football Schedule 

    Joyner’s effort is what stands out on the field. He bought into the culture, and he’s a hard worker who is seeing that grind pay off. Last year, he posted career highs with 7.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. He led the team in sacks and added two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

    5) Cody Lindenberg, LB

    It was supposed to be a big year for Cody Lindenberg in 2023, but an injury limited him for most of the season. He finished the year with 31 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss in just four games, but now he’s ready to return to full health.

    Lindenberg was a reliable playmaker for the Gophers in 2022, posting 71 tackles in his first year as a starter. With Baranowski and Devon Williams returning this year, this defense has one of the better linebacker groups in the conference.

    4) Jack Henderson, NB

    If you’re looking for the perfect comp for Jack Henderson, it’s probably the Energizer Bunny. The guy simply does not stop. If you go back and watch film of the Gophers defense from last year, Henderson is most likely making the play or near it. He has a knack for it and is a great leader for the defense.

    He led the team with 59 tackles last year, but he also produced five tackles for loss and two interceptions. Under new leadership, it will be interesting to see if he plays a similar role, but there should be no concerns about his ability to be the guy who’s all over the field making plays.

    3) Aireontae Ersery, OT

    A second-team All-Big Ten selection at College Football Network, Aireontae Ersery came out of nowhere last year — at least to those outside of the program. While the offense struggled at times, Ersery was a consistent player, even against the toughest competition.

    Over the past few years, the Gophers lost multiple players to the NFL, so a drop-off seemed inevitable up front. They just need to get back on track and they have the leader in place to get them there. Ersery leads by example, and any improvement from this group will help the offense tremendously.

    2) Daniel Jackson, WR

    I still get chills watching Daniel Jackson drag his toe for a touchdown after running a nasty double move against Nebraska to start the year. If the Gophers can find a way to throw the ball more consistently this season, Jackson will be a huge beneficiary of that improvement.

    He’s improved his stats every year during his four-year tenure with the Gophers, and last year, he caught 59 passes for 831 yards and eight touchdowns. That’s in an offense that struggled mightily moving the ball through the air. If he finds chemistry with the new quarterback, he could be on track to be an all-conference player at year’s end.

    1) Darius Taylor, RB

    Even with the Gophers getting Sieh Bangura (Ohio) and Marcus Major (Oklahoma), along with the return of Jordan Nubin, Darius Taylor is the undisputed starter for this team until further notice. It will just come down to how much the staff wants to rotate their options. It’s a deep group, but Taylor’s the star.

    KEEP READING: 2024 Big Ten Power Rankings 

    In just six games last season, Taylor ran for 799 yards and five touchdowns. With Mo Ibrahim off to the NFL, the offense needed someone to step up in his absence. Taylor didn’t get to do it the whole year, but he did enough to build excitement for the future.

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

    College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

    Never miss a beat with the CFN-exclusive College Football Transfer Portal Tracker, listing the student-athletes entering and exiting the transfer portal.

    Related Articles