Antoine Winfield Jr. out for the season

The playmaking defensive back suffered a foot injury in the first quarter against Maryland that will sideline him for the remainder of the year.

by Paul Hodowanic

Minnesota announced Sunday that defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr. will miss the rest of the 2018 season.

Winfield Jr. injured his foot in the first quarter of Saturday’s 42-13 loss to Maryland. The Gophers said the sophomore will have surgery on his foot on Monday.

“We are heartbroken for Antoine,” head coach P.J. Fleck said in a statement. “I know he will keep his oar in the water, keep moving forward and will work tirelessly to return to the field next season.”

Winfield Jr. was a key piece in Minnesota’s defense and special teams this season. He collected a fumble recovery, 16 total tackles, a punt return for a touchdown and a game-sealing interception against Fresno State.

The Woodlands, Texas native was in a similar situation nearly one year ago. Winfield Jr. was poised to have a breakout season, but was injured in the fourth game of the 2017 season — a loss to Maryland — and missed the remainder of the Gophers’ 5-7 season.

The team will shift focus to next year, as Minnesota intends to file a waiver with the NCAA that would grant a sixth year of eligibility and give Winfield Jr. three more years with the Gophers.