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Minnesota: Top 15 Student-Athletes to Watch in 2015-16

It has been 50 years since the Minnesota Golden Gophers could call themselves the best football team in the Big Ten. But 2015 represents perhaps the best chance to change that—with a few breaks falling their way, of course.

We ran the Value Add Sports calculations on all returning athletes in the state and emailed sports writers and other experts in the state to help rank the 25 state players to watch on a list we will update here.

With a bowling ball running back in Rodrick Williams primed for the lead role and Briean Boddy-Calhoun (pictured) and Eric Murray anchoring what should be a formidable secondary and a consistent stream of improvement since the arrival of coach Jerry Kill, the Gophers have become a dark horse within the race for the Big Ten title. But, with all due respect to Kill’s bunch, Minnesota is a hockey state and one that happens to be home to the defending women’s ice hockey national champion and with that in mind, dynamic duo Hannah Brandt and Lee Stecklein tops our list. Brandt may go down as the greatest female hockey player in Golden Gopher history, and Stecklein’s no slouch, either.

  1. Hannah Brandt, Minnesota, Women’s Hockey, F
  2. Lee Stecklein, Minnesota, Women’s Hockey, D
  3. Rodrick Williams, Minnesota, Football, RB
  4. Dani Cameranesi, Minnesota, Women’s Hockey, F
  5. Theiren Cockran, Minnesota, Football, DE
  6. Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Minnesota, Football, DB
  7. Carlos Morris, Minnesota, Basketball, SF
  8. Eric Murray, Minnesota, Football, DB
  9. Taylor Mikkalson, Minnesota, Track/Field, 3,000m Steeplechase
  10. Josh Campion, Minnesota, Football, OL
  11. Amir Coffey, Hopkins (Hopkins, Minn.), Basketball, G
  12. Rachel McCloskey, Minnesota, Soccer, Midfielder
  13. Jamie Crum, Minnesota, Track/Field, Decathlon
  14. Martin Gruse, St.Mary’s, Hockey, F
  15. Mitch Leidner, Minnesota, Football, QB

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