Gophers land junior college quarterback recruit Vic Viramontes

Vic Viramontes, a dual-threat junior college quarterback from Riverside (Calif.) City College, announced on Twitter on Monday that he has verbally committed to the Gophers.

“I would like to announce that I am officially committed to the University of Minnesota! #RowTheBoat’’ Viramontes tweeted.

“I can’t wait to play for the Golden Gophers!’’ Viramontes also tweeted.

Viramontes’ announcement comes two days after Demry Croft, a sophomore who started the final six games for the Gophers in 2017, asked Fleck for his release from the program following the season-ending 31-0 loss to Wisconsin. A school spokesman confirmed that coach P.J. Fleck would grant Croft’s release.

Viramontes, a freshman at Riverside and a transfer from Cal, passed for 1,868 yards and 22 touchdowns and rushed for 1,346 yards and 21 TDs this season for Riverside, which lost in the SoCal championship game on Saturday. The Norco, Calif., native spent the 2016 season as a redshirt at Cal. He would have three seasons of eligibility remaining with Minnesota.

The 6-1, 230-pounder began his visit with Fleck and the Gophers on Sunday. Rated as a three-star recruit by 247Sports and as the No. 1 dual-threat QB among junior college players in the Class of 2018, Viramontes also was heavily recruited by Kansas and received an offer from Mississippi last week.

With Croft’s departure, Viramontes would join a quarterback competition that currently includes Tanner Morgan, a freshman who spent this season as a redshirt; and Seth Green, the former East Ridge standout who will be a third-year sophomore next season.

The Gophers, who finished 5-7 overall and 2-7 in the Big Ten, need improvement from the quarterback position. Croft went 2-4 in his six Big Ten starts this season, completing five or fewer passes in four of them, and he had three games of 47 or fewer passing yards. Not surprisingly, the Gophers rank 122nd nationally in passing offense. In conference play, they averaged 110.4 passing yards per game.

Against Wisconsin, Croft completed three of nine passes for 40 yards, a week after he went 2-for-11 for 43 yards with three interceptions in a 39-0 loss at Northwestern.

Viramontes completed 59.4 percent of his passes, averaging 155.7 yards per game, and rushed for an average of 112.2 yards per game. He passed for 293 yards and two TDs with three interceptions in Riverside’s 75-16 loss to Fullerton in the SoCal title game.

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