Gopher Stand-Out Likely A Mid-Round Pick

Posted by cjsiewert on February 16, 2010 – 1:16 pm

Minnesota Golden Gophers WR Eric Decker has had many “good” problems to deal with during his collegiate career.  Perhaps the most significant problem he has faced is whether or not to play Major League Baseball.  Decker has been a stand-out WR for the Gophers throughout his 4 seasons on the team but he has also been selected in the MLB Draft the past 2 seasons – by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008 (round 39) and the Minnesota Twins in 2009 (round 27).

Decker’s athletic performance was highly-noted while attending Rocori High School in Cold Spring, Minn. where he succeeded on both the field and in the classroom.  During his high school football career, Decker compiled 2,156 receiving yards and 28 TDs while earning All-State, All-Conference, All-Area, and All-Section performer his junior and senior year.  He was also a member of the National Honor Society and the All-State academic team.

After graduating in 2005, Decker enrolled at the University of Minnesota where he joined the football team.  He was redshirted his 1st year but played in all 13 games in 2006, catching 26 passes for 378 yards and 3 TDs.  Decker recorded a break-through season during his sophomore campaign, compiling a team record 67 receptions with 909 yards and 9 TDs.

In 2008, Decker decided to join renowned coach John Anderson’s baseball team where he batted .329 with 47 runs and 28 RBIs in 161 at-bats while leading his team in walks.  His performance garnered enough attention that the Brewers decided to draft him in the 39th round of the 2008 MLB Draft, but Decker’s focus was solely on football.  Decker continued to put up great numbers for the Gopher football team the remainder of his collegiate career, tallying 227 receptions for 3,119 yards and 24 TDs.

Heading into the 2010 NFL Draft, there is one factor that might affect Decker’s draft value – the injury he sustained in a game at Ohio State this past season.  While running an out-route, Decker tried to plant quickly and suffered what is known as a Lisfranc sprain (tear of ligament that holds first 2 toes in place).  The injury sidelined Decker for the remainder of the season and usually requires an 8-month period of rehab.

With the injury occurring in late October, that 8-month rehab period brings us right up to the beginning of training camp.  Setting the injury aside, Decker is considered one of the top-10 receivers entering this year’s draft and is praised for his size, work ethic and route-running abilities.  Look for Decker to be a late 2nd or early 3rd round pick.

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