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P.J. Fleck picks Zack Annexstad, a true freshman walk-on, for Gophers starting quarterback

August 20, 2018

Gophers coach P.J. Fleck is going all-in on his youth movement, naming true freshman Zack Annexstad as his starting quarterback on Monday for the Aug. 30 season opener against New Mexico State.

Annexstad, a preferred walk-on from Norseland, Minn., who played at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., won the job over redshirt freshman Tanner Morgan. Morgan, of Ryle High School in Union, Ky., appeared to have an edge after spring practice, but Annexstad won over Fleck and his coaching staff during training camp.

Though Annexstad will start, dont be surprised if Morgan plays, too. No quarterback on the Gophers roster has played in a collegiate game, and Fleck wants to have two quarterbacks gain experience.

Annexstad is familiar with wresting a job away from a presumed starter. Last year at IMG Academy, he was in a competition with Artur Sitkowski, a former Miami (Fla.) recruit to ended up at Rutgers and is battling for the Scarlet Knights starting job. Sitkowski won the starting job at IMG, but Annexstad soon supplanted him and started the remainder of the season for the Ascenders. Annexstad completed 63 of 112 passes for 940 yards and 10 touchdowns as IMG completed an undefeated season.

Annexstad committed to the Gophers despite having scholarship offers from Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

Both Annexstad and Morgan were solid in the Gophers spring game. Morgan completed 18 of 28 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns. Annexstad was 11-for-18 for 186 yards and a TD.