Mar’Keise Irving Enters Transfer Portal

Photo: Kelly Hagenson – Gopher Sports

Another young Minnesota Gophers star running back has entered the transfer portal. Earlier this offseason, it was (RS So) Ky Thomas (to Kansas). Now, with the Spring Game just days away, it’s true sophomore, Mar’Keise Irving. Last year, the two freshmen combined for over 1,500 yards and 10 touchdowns, eating up about 2/3 of the team’s total carries.

Mo, Trey Return; Ky, Bucky Leave

I hate to say I saw this coming, but I did. Two years ago, when I was begging Mohamed Ibrahim to take his talents to the NFL, after one of the best seasons of any running back in Big Ten history. His stock was never going to be higher than it was after that historic seven-game 2020 season and the running back room was stacked with talent behind him. It’s the perfect scenario for a college football team.

Instead, Ibrahim wanted to run it back and get his degree in 2021. Good for Mo. But it may have cost him a shot in the NFL as a mid-round draft pick. He blew out his Achilles tendon in the first game of the year vs Ohio State and was lost for the season. That injury gave Irving and Thomas opportunities as Freshmen and they took advantage.

Now, Mo’s injury setback has pushed him to exercise one last year of eligibility in 2022. Trey Potts, who was also lost midway through the 2021 season with a scary injury, announced he would return too. In the transfer portal age of college athletics, that’s one crowded running back room.

PJ Fleck’s Loyalty Problem

I wish these young athletes would realize that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. But at the same time, PJ Fleck needs to be smarter about his loyalty to upperclassmen who have little left to contribute, compared to that of young budding superstars like Ky Thomas and Mar’Keise Irving.

We have no idea what Mohamed Ibrahim and Trey Potts will provide in 2022, coming off such serious injuries. Now, they’re all PJ Fleck has left in his backfield. How did he allow that to happen?

Remember, Tanner Morgan is returning too which caused multiple QB transfers already. Prized young quarterback, Athan Kaliakmanis, is still on the roster. But for how long?

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan