University of Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz accepted an invitation to play in the 2023 Senior Bowl. Schmitz, who was recently named a finalist for the Rimington Trophy, is the 47th Gopher all-time to be invited to the Senior Bowl.

Schmitz’s invitation to the Senior Bowl, which is the premier postseason showcase game, marks the fourth straight that a Gopher will participate in the event (recent Gophers to be invited to the Senior Bowl include Daniel Faalele, Boye Mafe and Esezi Otomewo in 2022, Benjamin St-Juste in 2021 and Carter Coughlin and Kamal Martin in 2020).

Schmitz followed P.J. Fleck to Minnesota and has thrived under the development of offensive line coach Brian Callahan. A tough, blue-collar football player from just south of Chicago, Schmitz is the clear No. 1 Power 5 center in the nation according to Pro Football Focus. He anchors an offensive line that features four new starters and helps pave the way for one of the most dominant rushing attacks in the nation. Minnesota is one of only two teams in the Big Ten (Ohio State is the other) to rank in the Top 25 in the nation in both sacks allowed (Minnesota is T17) and tackles for loss allowed (Minnesota is T23).

Schmitz was named First Team All-Big Ten by both the coaches and media this year, becoming the first Minnesota center to receive the honor since Greg Eslinger was a First Team selection from 2003-05.

Schmitz was named First Team Midseason All-America Team by AP, ESPN, PFF and CBS and PFF named him a First Team All-American at the end of the season as well. Schmitz will undoubtedly be named to many more postseason All-America teams as well, and he was previously named a semifinalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award and for the Outland Trophy.

The 2023 Senior Bowl is slated to be played on February 4, 2023, at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Ala.

John Michael Schmitz

(info and photos courtesy of Gopher Sports)

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