The spring semester is starting off in exciting fashion for two Minnesota walk-on players. Or, should we say, two former walk-ons.
On Tuesday, P.J. Fleck announced that he was awarding scholarships to quarterback Zack Annexstad and defensive back Jordan Howden after making significant contributions to the program. That’s now 10 scholarships that the head coach has awarded to former walk-ons in his two years in Minneapolis.
Both players were immediate contributors for the Gophers on the field.
Congratulations to @ZackAnnexstad & @jhowden5229 on earning scholarships!! That’s now 10 walk-ons who have earned scholarships in just 24 months at Minnesota in the RTB Culture!! A HUGE part of our program!! #RTB #HYPRR #SkiUMah pic.twitter.com/DGN9iBiMAv
— P.J. Fleck (@Coach_Fleck) January 22, 2019
Annexstad started the first seven games of the season for Minnesota, throwing for 1,277 yards and nine touchdowns. He was injured in the second half of the year and didn’t see as many snaps while recovering.
By starting in the season opener for the Gophers, Annexstad became the second true-freshman walk-on quarterback to start in the first game of a season. The other was Baker Mayfield.
Howden played in all 13 games for Minnesota, making five starts at defensive back. He registered 45 total tackles, three pass break-ups and an interception in his freshman campaign.
Howden’s most impressive performance game in Minnesota’s 38-31 victory over Indiana, totaling seven tackles, breaking up three passes and recording his lone interception.