MINNEAPOLIS For the second straight game, it appears as if the University of Minnesota football team will be without top wide receiver A.J. Barker, who is hampered by an ankle injury. Coach Jerry Kill said Tuesday it would take a "miracle" for Barker to be on the field Saturday against Illinois.
It will be a big loss for the Gophers if Barker can't go. Through nine games, Barker, a 6-foot-1 junior, far and away leads Minnesota in essentially every receiving category. His 30 catches are tops on the team and double that of the 15 catches by the team's No. 2 receiver, Isaac Fruechte. Barker has racked up 577 receiving yards, more than the next three receivers combined (564).
Barker is also the team's best deep threat. His longest catch of the year went for 63 yards and a touchdown. The next-longest catch by a Gophers receiver was a 40-yarder by sophomore Devin Crawford-Tufts on Sept. 22 against Syracuse. Barker also has seven of Minnesota's 17 receiving touchdowns this year.