Preston Gellen’s fall training camp with the Gophers football team improved on Tuesday.
The walk-on running back and special-team standout was placed on scholarship after suffering a serious injury during the pre-season. The scholarship was recently announced in a copy of “Row the Boat” by head coach PJ Fleck, a book co-authored with John Gordon. It was introduced by Gordon during a team meeting.
When Gordon asked if a player had suffered a prolonged injury at training camp, Jaylen replied and then joined Gordon in front of the team.
“Everyone’s getting a copy of ‘Cry the Boat,'” Gordon said. “I want to give the first copy to someone who has just faced a serious adversity, a serious challenge. But I know this about him, he’s going to find a way to overcome it and he’s the one outstanding in all of you.” The way he is going to lead you all in a different way.”
Congratulations @preston_jelly On earning your scholarship!! Thanks to my friend (and co-author) @JonGordon11 To the team for their ELITE message and for helping with this surprise!! #RTB #HYPRR #skiumah pic.twitter.com/M1rZEUX2oj
— PJ Fleck (@Coach_Fleck) August 25, 2021
On the title page of the book was a handwritten message: “Preston, you are on scholarship.” The teammates giggled with joy, Gelon hugged and thanked Flake and Gordon and called their parents to tell them the news.
Jaylen is the fourth-year player to have been a “quad-team member”, meaning he has been in all four special-team units and played in all seven games last season. He was Special-Teams Scout Player of the Year in 2018. Earlier this month, he was seen with a brace on his knee during a practice in front of the media.
Last week, linebacker/special team player Derrick LeCaptain became the 18th walk-on player to receive a scholarship under Fleck since 2017. The others were Blake Cashman, Sam Rainer, Jordan Howden, Jack Annexstead, Emmit Carpenter, Connor Rhoda, Calvin Swenson, Clay. Geary, Axel Rushmeyer, Brock Annexstadt, Tyler Cooper, Bishop McDonald, Jonathan Santaga, Peter Udoibok, Jacob Herber, Bailey Schoenfelder and Justin Juneman.