Golden Gophers Running Back Shannon Brooks Named Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week


Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Golden Gophers got back on track offensively last Saturday against Purdue, with 326 rushing yards on their way to a 41-13 victory. The leader of the effort was freshman tailback Shannon Brooks, who had 17 carries for 176 yards and turned the game in Minnesota’s favor with a 71-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter.

Brooks was recognized for his big effort on Monday, as he was named Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week. His 176 yards on the ground were the most for a Gophers freshman since Laurence Maroney rushed for 179 yards against Illinois in 2003. The last Minnesota freshman to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors was then-quarterback Chris Streveler early in the 2014 season. Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers shared the honor with Brooks this week.

Brooks has seen significant action in the last three games, with a high level of productivity in two of those contests. He has a strong case to be the Golden Gophers’ No. 1 running back going forward, though Rodney Smith has been productive and he should remain in a prominent role.

More from Minnesota Football

Head coach Jerry Kill compared Brooks to Marion Barber after Saturday’s game. It’s surely a lofty comparison, as Barber is Minnesota’s fourth all-time leading rusher (3,276 yards), but Brooks has put himself in that kind of company with his effort on Saturday.

As the conference schedule gets more difficult, Brooks could become a star on a bigger scale with more games like last week. At minimum, he will be a key part of what should be a run-heavy, return to the glory days of Glen Mason’s tenure offense.

More from Gold and Gopher