Gophers fill glaring need at receiver with four-star Georgia transfer Tyler Williams

It was obvious during open Gophers football practices this spring: They needed help at wide receiver.

But when asked about positions the U would address when the NCAA transfer portal opened this month, head coach P.J. Fleck wouldn’t say wideout outright.

“Right now,” Fleck said April 11, “I wouldn’t say everything, but you are looking at some positions that you maybe want to get a little bit deeper.”

His actions spoke directly.

Four-star transfer receiver Tyler Williams, who played last season at Georgia, visited the U campus on Tuesday and committed to Minnesota in the evening.

As a true freshman last season, Williams played in two games for the national powerhouse Bulldogs, catching one pass for four yards versus Alabama Birmingham. The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder participated in spring drills before the Bulldogs added transfer reinforcements at WR and he decided to enter the portal.

Williams, of Lakeland (Fla.) High School, is a former top 100 recruit in the 2023 class. He transitioned from quarterback to receiver as a junior. As a senior season, he caught 28 passes for 399 yards and six touchdowns, and ran time times for 115 yards and a TD for the undefeated state champions.

During Gophers’ spring ball practices, all-Big Ten receiver Daniel Jackson was sidelined by what is believed to be a minor injury. Behind him, few reliable options were on display in three practices open to media members.

New winter transfers Jaylen Varner, from Division II’s Emporia State, was injured during the first open practice and sidelined through last week. Former Penn State player Cristian Driver, the son of former NFL wideout Donald Driver, also was out.

On the field, Elijah Spencer dropped passes in multiple practices, and Le’Meke Brockington didn’t make many big plays. Players further down the depth chart didn’t consistently stand out.

Williams has four years of eligibility remaining. Given his résumé would be a candidate to feature as soon as the season opener against North Carolina on Aug. 29.

Gophers add QB

The Gophers have been in the market for a third scholarship quarterback since January. They were able to fill the hole on Tuesday.

Virginia Tech redshirt freshman Dylan Wittke entered the NCAA transfer portal on April 17 after he was reportedly behind in the competition for the Hokies’ backup QB job coming out of spring practices. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound signal caller committed to Minnesota this week.

The three-star prospect out of Buford, Ga., did not play in a game in 2023 and maintained a redshirt. At Buford High School, he was three-sport athlete and helped his school win three state football championships (2019-21).

The U believed they originally had the backup QB need met with Fresno State transfer Logan Fife in December, but he changed his mind weeks later and went to Montana.

The Gophers have New Hampshire transfer Max Brosmer penciled in as the senior starter for 2024. True freshman Drake Lindsey has been impressive in spring practices and could compete with Wittke for the backup role this fall. Stillwater walk-on QB Max Shikenjanski has been the U’s third-stringer this spring.

Portal tracker

Incoming: WR Tyler Williams (Georgia); QB Dylan Wittke (Virginia Tech); DE Adam Kissayi (Clemson); DE Jaxon Howard (LSU)

Outgoing: CB Victor Pless (N/A); OL Cade McConnell (Vanderbilt); OL De’Eric Mister (N/A); CB Tariq Watson (N/A).

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