Oct 13, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Minnesota Golden Gophers linebacker Mike Rallis (26) and linebacker Keanon Cooper (4) tackles Northwestern Wildcats quarterback Kain Colter (2) after making a catch in the third quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. The Wildcats won 21-13. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Linebacker recruit eliminates Gophers


The Gophers are looking to replace graduating linebackers Mike Rallis and Keanon Cooper and one name that was on the mind of many was Louisiana native Duke Riley.

On Sunday night, Riley announced his final two schools in his decision process: LSU and TCU. His top-five from last month had Minnesota along with Tulane, Ole Miss and the aforementioned.

Riley is a three-star Rivals recruit and a four-star ESPN recruit. The LSU offer is a greyshirt, meaning that he will earn a scholarship after one season.

Nov 10, 2012; Champaign, IL, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers linebacker Aaron Hill (57) during the second quarter of the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Gophers currently have four linebackers in this season’s recruiting class.  Damien Wilson, a junior college transfer, has already enrolled in spring classes.  He joins Rayfield Dixon, De’Niro Laster, and Minnesotan Chris Wipson.  Wipson is recovering from a torn ACL and is likely unavailable next season.

The linebacker position had to be addressed by the coaching staff this offseason. The “strongest unit” from two seasons ago was the weakest on the field last season. Its lone returning starter is Aaron Hill, a former walk-on.

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