MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A.J. Barker is third in the Big Ten with 231 yards receiving through three games. He’s tied for third in the league with four touchdowns.

His next accomplishment will be getting a scholarship.

With the departure of Da’Jon McKnight, who finished in the top 10 in the conference in yards receiving each of the last two years, the Gophers had an opening for a go-to guy. And Barker has emerged from the crowded group.

Invited to walk on in 2009 by then-coach Tim Brewster’s staff, Barker came into the season with only one career catch. He says the experience allowed the chip on his shoulder “to continue to grow.”

Minnesota (3-0) hosts Syracuse on Saturday to close the nonconference portion of the season.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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