Gophers safety Winfield Jr. declares for NFL draft

January 8, 2020

Minnesota Gophers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. officially declared for the 2020 NFL Draft on Wednesday afternoon.

“I enjoyed my four years with the Gophers,” Winfield Jr. said in an Instagram post. “I want to thank everyone who has helped me along the way, from the coaches, to staffers and trainers, and my teammates.”

Winfield spent four years with the Gophers, entering the program in 2016 out of The Woodlands High School in Woodlands, Texas. Winfield had two years of collegiate eligibility remaining for 2020 and 2021.

After playing 12 games as a freshman, Winfield suffered injuries in both 2017 and 2018 and played just eight total games in that two-year stretch. But he rebounded in a big way this fall.

Winfield’s stock rose exponentially in 2019, as he tallied 83 tackles, seven interceptions and two forced fumbles. He won the Big Ten Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year award and was one of five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which recognizes the best defensive player in college football.

Winfield Jr. is following in the footsteps of his father, Antoine Winfield, who carved out a 14-year career in the NFL as an undersized cornerback and played from 2004-12 with the Minnesota Vikings.