NFL free agent frenzy gives UFAs shot at league

Senior quarterback Adam Weber runs the ball against Wisconsin Oct. 9 in Madison.

Mark Vancleave, Daily File Photo

Senior quarterback Adam Weber runs the ball against Wisconsin Oct. 9 in Madison.

by Samuel Gordon

NFL Free Agency

Adam Weber has found a home in the NFL.

The former Gophers quarterback agreed to a free-agent contract with the Denver Broncos, where heâÄôll be joining former Gophers teammate Eric Decker.

Weber had been working out at Larry FitzgeraldâÄôs camp at the University of Minnesota in preparation for the 2011 NFL season.

The Bills and Jaguars were also reportedly interested in Weber.

The four-and-a-half-month NFL lockout, which was lifted Tuesday, delayed negotiations between undrafted players and teams, and a slew of signings are expected to occur throughout the week.

The Star Tribune reported Tuesday that former Gophers fullback Jon Hoese has agreed to a deal with the Green Bay Packers, and that offensive lineman Dominic Alford has joined the Cleveland Browns. reported the Dallas Cowboys will be severing ties with Marion Barber III. Barber ran for a career low 374 yards last year and missed three games with a calf injury.

Gophers Picked to Finish Last in Big Ten

Journalists covering Big Ten teams picked the Gophers to finish last in the conference in a preseason poll that was organized by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Each Big Ten city had two voters.

Twenty-three of the 24 votes cast picked Minnesota to finish last in the Legends division.

Voters picked Nebraska and Wisconsin to meet in the Big Ten Championship with 12 of the 24 voters picking the Huskers to win the conference, and 11 picking the Badgers.

Michigan State received the other championship vote.

Recruiting Update

The Gophers have 17 commits in place for the class of 2012, including MinnesotaâÄôs top in-state prospect.

Offensive guard Isaac Hayes, an ESPNU Top-150 prospect and the No. 6 guard prospect nationally, verbally committed to the Gophers earlier this month. Hayes picked Minnesota over Boise State, Virginia Tech and several other Division I programs that offered a scholarship.

Wide receiver Andre McDonald, who backed out of his verbal commitment to Minnesota last month, told that he is still considering Minnesota and will likely make a decision before his high school season starts. The other schools heâÄôs considering are Iowa and Ohio State.

The Gophers have received commitments from four players in the Miami area.

Tight end Samad Hinds and defensive tackle Jordan Hinojosa, as well as outside linebackers Brian Nicholson and Joshua Ballesteros have all verbally committed to Minnesota.

Hayes and McDonald are the highest-rated of the GophersâÄô 17 recruits. lists them both as four-star prospects (out of five stars).