While the Big Ten didn't fare as well in a preseason Sports Illustrated college football preview as…
Gophers begin practice without several players
"A couple players that are not in camp that you might expect to be here. Trevor McCulloch, who is an offensive lineman, will not report until school starts, but we anticipate him reporting then. Brandon Owens, a young man entering his second year, is still trying to work out some summer school issues, so I've not let him in camp yet. Willie VanDeSteeg, a young man we recruited out of Silver Lake, is still working on his certification. If you would add Brandon Owens and Willie VanDeSteeg, who may enter our camp any day, that would put us to the 105. That's why we're only at 103. We had one young man, David Wess, who did not qualify and is going to go - or at least we anticipate him going - the junior college route. Chad Redmann, a young man that's been in our program a number of years, would have been a senior at tight end, has decided to leave our program. And Everette Pedescleaux, a young man that we took out of Armstrong - a combination football, basketball player - hurt his knee during one of the all-star games, and underwent surgery - hopefully successful surgery. We think it's successful surgery. And he will not full-time enroll, the key term being full-time enroll, until January. Why? Because he'd be unable to participate athletically, right now. So, why start his athletic clock now? We'll delay it and that way he doesn't burn up a year of potential eligibility. So, hopefully everything will work out okay there."
McCulloch, who is the biggest of the Gophers' offensive lineman at 320 pounds, was expected to compete for playing time at left guard. He did not play last season as a sophomore after playing in two games and 19 plays during the 2002 season. McCulloch redshirted as a freshman.
Owens, who was one of three true freshmen to play last season, appeared in nine games in the secondary and on special teams. He participated in 80 plays and will move to drop linebacker this season after moving from defensive back.
VanDeSteeg, a 6-4, 245-pound defensive end from Glencoe-Silver Lake, was named first-team All-State by the AP and to the Star Tribune All-Metro team. He had three sacks to lead the Panthers to a 21-0 win over Delano in the Class AAA championship of the Prep Bowl in the Metrodome. VanDeSteeg finished with 18 sacks this season. Glencoe-Silve -Lake held teams to just 200 yards per game and no postseason opponent scored more than 10 points in the six playoff games.
Wess was first-team all-Ohio selection as a defensive back and also threw for more than 1,650 yards as a quarterback.
Chad Redmann, who was an undefeated and Class AAA champion wrestler, was the only senior on the depth chart at tight end.
Pedescleaux, a 6-6 two-sport star from Plymouth (MN) Robbinsdale Armstrong, will not play for the Gophers this season due to a knee injury he suffered during an All-Star game. He will enroll at Minnesota in January, thus saving his eligibility. Pedescleaux had committed to Northern Iowa for basketball, picking the Panthers over Tulsa. However, Pedescleaux did not sign a letter of intent in the early signing period. Pedescleaux helped lead the Falcons to the Class 5A football semi-finals, where they lost to eventual state champs Lakeville 38-28. Pedescleaux finished with 65 carries for 324 yards and nine touchdowns. He grabbed six passes for 58 yards and two scores. Pedescleaux was named first-team Star Tribune All-Metro and AP All-State team as a defensive end. He is expected to attempt to play both sports for the Gophers
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