MINNEAPOLIS - Mo Ibrahim is coming back for even more.
A year after the University of Minnesota running back chose a fifth season over the NFL Draft, Ibrahim announced Wednesday he will stick around Dinktyown for a sixth in 2022. After winning Big Ten Running Back of the Year Award in 2020, he suffered a season-ending injury to his Achilles tendon during the 2021 season opener.
“Can’t wait to be back with my brothers, my teammates, this culture, the University of Minnesota and this state,” Ibrahim said in a social-media video. “Minnesota, it’s time to row.”
In the nationally televised opener against Ohio State on Sept. 2, Ibrahim had rushed for 163 yards on 30 carries and two touchdowns in three quarters before the rug was pulled out from under him.
“At first I thought it was a cramp, but when I got up, I knew it was something serious,” Ibrahim said in the video. “I felt like I was living a nightmare. The season I had been dreaming of all offseason was just gone in a blink of an eye. I was crushed. But I came back and started rehabbing the next day. I knew this was going to be the toughest thing I’ve ever done — physically, mentally and emotionally.”
Gophers offensive coordinator Mike Sanford Jr., said he was hoping for this news considering the speculation of who might or might not be back for 2022.
“From a football standpoint, I think this is the absolutely correct decision because what Mo does so incredibly well is what shows up on tape,” Sanford said. “That is what is going to be what ultimately, I think, leads to an incredible NFL career.”
Ibrahim, a Baltimore, native, has remained with Gophers team all season, serving as the team’s coin-toss captain and helping a handful of backups who have filled in for him. Minnesota also lost backup Trey Potts and third-string Bryce Williams to season-ending injuries this season and has relied on freshmen Ky Thomas and Mar’Keise Irving to carry the load.
Ibrahim carried 201 times for 1,076 yards and 15 touchdowns in seven games last season. He already ranks in the Top 10 in many program career categories.