10. Jimmy Gjere | RT | Sophomore | 6'7” 325 lbs. G ST 5 5
Jimmy Gjere might be the most well-regarded offensive lineman on the Gophers roster; however, he hasn’t been able to fully deliver on the field in his young career. By the same point, it’s important to remember that he’s only entering his redshirt sophomore year. Ideally, Gjere* wouldn’t have taken the field at all last year, instead waiting until his pass protection skills developed.
* - Everyone refers to Gjere as “Jimmy,” although his personal Twitter account says his name is “Jim Gjere.” I feel like we should be calling him “Jim” if that’s what he really wants. Then again, he’s 6-foot, 7-inches tall and weighs more than 300 pounds. Maybe we should call him “Mr. Gjere.”
After starting five games at right tackle last year, Gjere suffered a concussion and missed the rest of the season. Although he was held out of contact during spring practices, Gjere received full medical clearance July 2 to return to the field. He’s expected to start at right tackle and continue to emerge as an an anchor on the offensive line.
As Big Ten blogger Adam Jacobi wrote this spring, “Gjere is, quite simply, the type of player you build an offensive line around.” Gjere came to Minnesota as a four-star recruit out of Irondale High, spurning reported interest from more established Big Ten programs like Ohio State, Iowa and Wisconsin. When Gjere was a high school prospect, Rivals.com Recuriting Analyst Barry Every wrote that Gjere needed to improve his pass protection skills and that could cause his career to start off slowly. Every continued that Gjere “could become a beast” down the line, though, due to his intelligence, quick feet and imposing size.
So far in Gjere’s young career, Every has nailed it.
Gjere performed well in run blocking situations last year, but his lack of experience came to light as more seasoned pass rushers were able to dominate him in pass protection. But those skills should still develop. He is likely the most agile lineman in the Gophers program and his combination of size and speed is exceptional. Gjere has already gained about 30 pounds of good weight since his freshman year and has demonstrated his intelligence in the classroom – he was named Academic All-Big Ten.
A pessimistic outlook is that Gjere is a major question mark entering this year, due to his raw inexperience and injury issues. An optimistic outlook is that Gjere was pressed into action far too early in his career and that he has recovered from his injury – as much as a person can “recover” from a concussion.
Call me an optimist. I fully expect Gjere to continue to develop as a pass blocker and eventually become a mainstay of an offensive line that could become one of the conference’s best in a few years.