Minneapolis, MN  (gophersports.com) - University of Minnesota head football coach Tracy Claeys announced Wednesday the signing of Merrick Jackson, Vincent Calhoun, Garrison Wright and Elijah Battle to a national letter of intent and also announced that Seth Green, Thomas Barber and Tai’yon Devers have signed a tender of financial aid to attend Minnesota.  

All seven individuals will enroll at Minnesota in January and will be able to participate in spring practice. Minnesota will announce its complete signing day class on National Signing Day on Feb. 3, 2016.

Barber, Devers and Green will have four years of eligibility at Minnesota, while Jackson, Calhoun, Wright and Battle will each have two.

“There is no question that we got better today with the addition of these seven young men,” said Minnesota head coach Tracy Claeys. “They are all tremendous athletes who can run and have length. I am looking forward to their arrival on campus in January and having them compete in spring practice.”

Jackson is a 6-2, 330-pound defensive tackle from East St. Louis, Ill. He played two years at Iowa Western and was a NJCAA First Team All-American after recording 70 tackles and 7.5 sacks as a sophomore. Jackson also had 19 tackles-for-loss, forced one fumble and broke up one pass.

Calhoun, who is 6-4 and 330 pounds, is an offensive lineman who attended Southwest Mississippi Community College. The Roswell, Ga., native played two seasons with the Bears and was named an NJCAA Second Team All-American. In addition, he was also named to the NJCAA's All-Region team and selected MACJC First Team All-South. Calhoun was also named the South's Most Valuable Lineman.

Wright is an offensive lineman from Marysville, Kan., and is 6-5 and 313 pounds. He helped lead Butler Community College to a 9-2 record this year and protected for an offense that rushed for 2,087 yards and 36 touchdowns and one that passed for 2,160 yards and 16 scores.

Battle is a 6-0, 180-pound defensive back from Newark, N.J. who played at Dodge City Community College. He recorded 50 tackles (38 solo) in 12 games this season and had 11 pass breakups. Battle also notched two tackles-for-loss, one interception, recovered one fumble and returned two kickoffs for 41 yards.

Green is a 6-4, 218-pound quarterback from Woodbury, Minn. He played high school football at East Ridge before transferring to Allen High School in Texas for his senior season. Green helped lead Allen to a 14-1 record as a senior and passed for 1,481 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also rushed 99 times for 865 yards and 10 scores.

Barber is a legacy name at Minnesota. His older brothers – Marion and Dom – and his father, Marion, all played football for the Gophers. The youngest Barber is a linebacker from Plymouth, Minn., and played high school football at Robbinsdale Armstrong. Barber, who is 6-1 and 235 pounds, totaled 109 tackles as a senior, which included two sacks and two pass breakups. He also rushed 50 times for 309 yards and nine touchdowns.

Devers is a 6-4, 225-pound defensive end from Pompano Beach, Fla., and has played football for only two years. He played his senior season at Blanche Ely High School and then played one year at Georgia Prep Sports Academy.


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