Quarterback Chris Streveler committed to the Gophers before his senior season in 2012 at Marian Central Catholic in Woodstock, Ill. He enrolled as an early graduate in January 2013, a month after Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel had won the Heisman Trophy.
The Gophers staff was not suggesting Streveler would be the second coming of Johnny Football; only that the ability to take off for hunks of yards and throw on the run was there.
Five years later, Streveler and Manziel are backup QBs in the Canadian Football League. There was this difference through four games:
Streveler started the first three of his rookie season at Winnipeg when veteran Matt Nichols was injured, and Manziel had yet to play with Jeremiah Masoli tearing it up with Hamilton.
As you might recall, Manziel had a few moments of poor behavior that waylaid his career. Streveler’s issue at Minnesota was either lack of opportunity or a lack of Big Ten-level passing skills, depending on your point of view.
A scouting report from Rivals.com offered this opinion on Streveler: “He’s a guy who really turns it on when the lights are on. … He definitely has some work to do on his throwing mechanics.’’
Streveler redshirted as a freshman and started one game when Mitch Leidner was hurt in 2014. It was a 24-7 victory over San Jose State, in which Streveler went 1-for-7 passing and rushed for 161 yards.
In 2015, Streveler had four carries and one reception in total as he tried a move to tight end or receiver, and then transferred in April 2016 to South Dakota with no objection from Gophers coach Tracy Claeys.
OK, it was the FCS, but somebody with the Coyotes must have been successful in tweaking those mechanics: In 23 games, he completed 480 of 754 (63.7 percent) passes for 6,081 yards and rushed for 1,573 yards. He totaled 74 touchdowns (54 passing).
As a Twin Cities media member at the forefront of making excuses for Phil Fleck’s putrid first season as coach, I’m guessing the Gophers would have been bowl-eligible in 2017 if Streveler hadn’t been run off by the previous brain trust.
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Chris Streveler and Winnipeg’s Blue Bombers:
• Streveler went 1-2 in his starts and threw for six touchdowns and ran for two. He rushed for two more TDs in Matt Nichols’ first start.
• Streveler completed three of his TD passes to Drew Wolitarsky, a former Gophers standout. Wolitarsky had the lone reception in Streveler’s single Gophers start.
• Dieter Brock is a Hall of Fame QB for Winnipeg. He played one season (1985) for the L.A. Rams, and the Bears’ 46 defense nearly murdered him in the NFC title game at Soldier Field.