Talented DII WR Jaylen Varner Commits to Gophers Out of Portal

Photo: Josiah Driggers - Emporia State University

The transfer portal good times continued for the Minnesota Gophers on Monday, when they received a commitment from top division II wide receiver, Jaylen Varner, from Emporia State University, in Kansas.

Jaylen Varner (WR) – Emporia State

Varner started his college football career in 2019 as a preferred walk-on cornerback at Missouri, but he never got a snap. He then transferred to Emporia State in the fall of 2020 and moved to wide receiver.

Related: Minnesota Gophers Football Transfer Portal Tracker 2023-24

Jaylen got his first playing opportunities at Emporia State in 2021 as a redshirt freshman and became a playmaker on offense pretty quickly. He caught 39 passes for 428 yards and 4 touchdowns that first season, which he improved upon as a sophomore.

But it was his monster 2023 season as a junior where he put it all together, posting 90 catches for 1,008 yards and 12 touchdowns, ranking 7th, 12th and T-8th among DII wide receivers respectively, that opened division one doors back up, Minnesota included.


Minnesota Gophers getting another offensive weapon in Varner

When you turn on the highlight reel, it’s easy to see why Jaylen Varner was able to get the Minnesota Gophers offensive coaching staff, including PJ Fleck who is a former NFL WR coach, excited about him.

He’s 6-feet, 180 lbs and very shifty, especially against division two competition, but he has a lot of top-end speed too. I mean, he’s blowing by everybody in the clips below. Most of all though, and what I’m guessing the Gophers like about him, is his headiness.

Also in the below video, there are a number of plays where Varner goes beyond what his route tree calls for on given plays, choosing to make smart football plays, when needed, that help out his quarterback.

Related: Gophers Receive Transfer Portal Commitment from WR Cristian Driver (Penn State)

Yet again, the Minnesota Gophers wide receiver room will not be void of talent. Last season, that talent went wasted because Athan Kaliakmanis and the Gophers offensive coaching staff could not get the ball in their hands.

In 2024, they hope that’s a different story, with FCS’ most proficient passer from 2023 now on roster, in Max Brosmer, who led New Hampshire to one of their best seasons in school history where he broke all sorts of records and landed near the top of all FCS passing leaderboards with nearly 3,500 yards, 29 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions.

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