Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
With four seniors (Eric Murray, Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Damarius Travis and Antonio Johnson) leading the way, the Minnesota Golden Gophers had perhaps the best secondary in the Big Ten entering this season. But the quartet has only played one game together so far, with Boddy-Calhoun missing the first two conference games with a knee issue and Travis being sidelined by a hamstring injury since the season opener against TCU.
It seemed like Travis was close to returning for last Saturday’s game against Nebraska, but a mid-week reversal led to a sixth straight missed game. With a bye this week Travis will continue to rehab his pulled hamstring, but head coach Jerry Kill acknowledged that a medical redshirt is a possibility for the senior safety.
Travis played in all 39 games over his first three seasons at Minnesota, so this year’s injury looks like a blip on the radar. Having him miss the rest of this season is clearly not ideal, particularly with the toughest part of the schedule coming after the Golden Gophers are idle this week, but a limited Travis may not be much help as Minnesota looks to win enough games to earn a bowl bid.
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If he ends up seeking and being granted a medical redshirt for this season, Travis would bring much-needed experience for looks likely to be a young Minnesota defense in 2016. With the presumption of full health next year, I think Travis could become a solid NFL prospect and put himself in good position to be drafted.