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Minnesota grad transfer Gaelin Elmore picks East Carolina over Arizona

Another blow for UA’s defensive line

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Golden Gophers graduate transfer Gaelin Elmore has chosen to spend his final collegiate season at East Carolina over Arizona, the defensive lineman announced Saturday on Twitter.

The Arizona Wildcats were considered the favorite to land Elmore, who would have provided some much-needed help on UA’s defensive line, so this is a tough pill to swallow.

Last year, Elmore recorded 16 tackles (four for loss), 1.5 sacks, a pass breakup, and three fumble recoveries in 13 games played for Minnesota. The 6-foot-6, 275 pound defensive end would have been in strong contention for a starting role with the Wildcats.

The Arizona staff has not had a lot of luck retaining defensive linemen over the last few years. This offseason, Rich Rodriguez has already seen two young talents leave the program in Justin Holt and Jalen Cochran.

It looks like Arizona will have to make due with what it has on its roster heading into the 2017 season. Justin Belknap, Parker Zellers, and Luca Bruno will likely hold the starting spots on the defensive line, with Jack Banda, Finton Connolly and Larry Tharpe Jr. as the primary backups.

In the 2017 recruiting class, Rodriguez hauled in Jalen Harris and My-King Johnson, who are both listed as defensive ends. Sione Taufahema and Kurtis Brown are two new defensive tackles as well.

Taufahema enrolled in January and participated in spring practice, while Brown is coming off a torn meniscus.