The Golden Gopher football team was dealt a tough blow on Tuesday when they announced Shannon Brooks will miss the 2018 season with a non-contact lower leg injury.
Although Brooks had a difficult 2017 campaign, playing in just six games, there is no doubt he would have been an important part of the Gopher offense in 2018 had he stayed healthy. The Gophers are most likely going to rely heavily on their rushing attack in 2018 because of the lack of experience at QB on their roster.
Although he has settled into somewhat of a complimentary role to Rodney Smith, Brooks is a dynamic player on offense and is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. Brooks burst onto the scene as a freshman and had his best season to date, scoring seven touchdowns and leading the team in rushing with 709 yards. In 2016, Rodney Smith became the star of the Gopher rushing attack and Brooks leveled off, finishing with 650 yards rushing.
If there is a silver lining here, it’s that Brooks will receive a red shirt this year and come back in 2019 as the experienced vet and could possibly see a starring role in the backfield for what will most likely be a much improved team. A year from now, the team should look much deeper and more talented than in Fleck’s first two years in Minneapolis.
This injury is a definite setback for the Gophers but it is hardly a death sentence. With Rodney Smith still healthy and still capable of rushing for over 1000 yards in a season, Brooks most likely would have been the change of pace back anyhow. The Gophers might not win a ton of games next season, but it wont be because Shannon Brooks is out.