The Minnesota Gophers lost to the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday for the 16th time in the last 17 matchups and then opted out of bowl play on Sunday morning. Since then, (CB) Benjamin St-Juste has declared for the NFL Draft and (CB) Coney Durr has announced his plan to stay at Minnesota for 2021. But what about star running back, Mohamed Ibrahim?
Media spoke with Ibrahim last Monday, right after he was named Big Ten Running Back of the Year. Toward the end of his availability that afternoon, I asked Mo if he had thought about the NFL at all to that point, and whether he’d take the leap after such an impressive redshirt junior season.
— Minnesota Sports Fan (@realmnsportsfan) December 15, 2020
Mohamed Ibrahim wasn’t thinking about his football future beyond the University of Minnesota, and “as of now” he wasn’t planning to leave after this season. But now that it’s over, he hasn’t made an announcement like some of his teammates have.
I think it would be in Mohamed Ibrahim’s own best interest, to change his mind and enter the NFL Draft this offseason. It just seems like the right time.
Ibrahim talks about getting his college degree and how that is his first priority. That’s good. But at the end of the day, you get your college degree because it will help you make more money.
Let’s not forget that. There isn’t a career in any field of study that is going to pay Mo Ibrahim more money over the next few years, than playing football in the NFL (especially as a mid-round draft pick).
But let’s talk about that ever-important college degree. Mo is a redshirt junior so this is his 4th year at the University of Minnesota. If he needs more credits after this school year, it can’t be very many.
But should he not have degree in-hand by the end of this school year, it will still be free should he choose to continue during an upcoming NFL offseason.
Tough to Top B1G Running Back of the Year
As mentioned earlier, Mohamed Ibrahim was named Big Ten Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year in 2020, a trophy awarded to the conference’s best ball carrier since 2011. It’s an ELITE list.
Ibrahim isn’t on the NFL Draft radar yet, which is a travesty. But wrongs are soon to be righted because being B1G RBoY has its perks. Like, not lasting past the 2nd round of the draft.
If Mo were to get picked in the 3rd round of next year’s draft, something I think he would jump out of the boat for, it would be the latest an honoree has ever had his name called at the podium.
|2012||Montee Ball||Wisconsin||2nd Round|
|2013||Carlos Hyde||Ohio State||2nd Round|
|2014||Melvin Gordon||Wisconsin||1st Round|
|2015||Ezekiel Elliot||Ohio State||1st Round|
|2016||Saquon Barkley||Penn State|
|2017||Saquon Barkley||Penn State||1st Round|
|2019||Jonathan Taylor||Wisconsin||2nd Round|
These draft genius websites can only hold Mo down for so long. Just turn on the tape.
Mohamed Ibrahim completely dominated every defense he played this season and he was THE guy the Gophers needed to ride offensively, if they were going to win games.
In the 7 games Minnesota played this season, the Baltimore, MD native ran for 5.4 yards per carry, for a total of 1076 yards and 15 touchdowns. Digest those numbers for a moment. There’s zero guarantee he will get those opportunities again next season, let alone match that type of production.
Talent Behind Him
One of the reasons I worry about next year being a step back for Ibrahim, is due to the talent that’s behind him. We saw some of it with Cam Wiley and Trey Potts this season but they’re only the tip of the iceberg.
|Cam Wiley||RS Freshman||.8506 (3-Star)|
|Trey Potts||RS Freshman||.8526 (3-Star)|
|Jason Williamson*||RS Freshman||.8632 (3-Star)|
|Ky Thomas||Freshman||.8863 (3-Star)|
|Mar’Keise Irving||HS Senior||.8930 (4-Star)|
We don’t know that anyone listed above would threaten to transfer or that any of them would push Mo for playing time. We do know that this is one of, if not the most, talented position groups that PJ Fleck and his coaching staff have put together while on campus.
For the Gophers, you never want to see your best player leave but it’s better if that player’s position is the deepest on your team, like the Gophers at running back.
A Year Older
If Ibrahim waits another season to enter the draft, he’ll be nearly 24 years old (*we think) and that is pushing the limit on the NFL RB rookie age scale. It’s a position that hits early, from all rounds of the draft, and then fizzles even faster.
Running back shelf life in the NFL is equivalent to the raspberry shelf life in your refrigerator. Gaining another year of wisdom and savvy on the football field will NOT help his draft stock in any way.
In fact, it’s unlikely that Mohamed Ibrahim’s draft stock ever gets any higher than it will get during this draft cycle. He should take advantage and take his talents to the NFL.
And having a player drafted, after winning Big Ten Running Back of the Year, is great for your program too.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan
*I cannot find the age of Mohamed Ibrahim anywhere. He graduated high school in 2017.