Despite speed, athletic QB Croft a pocket passer

Quarterback Demry Croft will join the Gophers next season.

Jack Satzinger

At 6 feet, 5 inches with a 4.66 second 40-yard dash time, Demry Croft looks like a college wide receiver.

Two years ago, that’s exactly what he was projected to be. But after switching to quarterback midway through his junior season, the Rockford, Ill., native is the Gophers’ signal caller of the future.

Before Minnesota’s staff saw Croft play for the first time, head coach Jerry Kill admittedly “didn’t know that much” about him.

That changed — fast.

“When he started throwing the ball, throwing routes, you know, you go, ‘Man, this kid’s different,’” Kill said, letting out a toothy smile.

Kill said he thought Croft felt good about the Gophers since they offered before most other programs, but after he committed to Minnesota, more calls from Michigan State, Penn State and other schools came in.

Croft stayed firm with Minnesota.

“It’s just a program on the rise. I like what Coach has done the past few seasons, and he’s really turning the program around,” Croft said.

Croft’s size, speed and experience playing wide receiver make him the perfect dual-threat quarterback in Minnesota’s offense, which often employs the read-option.

But Croft said he mainly uses his speed to scramble when a play breaks down. In essence, he’s really a pocket passer.

“I think people just call me a dual-threat because they see my 40-[yard dash] time,” Croft said.

One reason why Croft chose the Gophers over Northern Illinois, Buffalo, Akron and other schools was the lure of studying business at the Carlson School of Management.

“That’s a big reason why I went there,” he said.

Croft isn’t sure what his role will be when he moves to campus and enrolls in classes, but he said the coaching staff wants him to come in and compete for the backup quarterback spot behind Mitch Leidner.

“He’s going to be what we need,” defensive back commit Alonzo Craighton said. “He’s all about business.”

Croft may have originally been a wide receiver, but Kill has high praise for his new three-star quarterback.

“He’s got all the tools. You can’t turn down somebody that athletic. To me, he’s kind of a steal,” Kill said. “In a different time, a different situation, it would have been difficult for us to get him.”