Some have suggested that this is the single biggest recriuting weekend in Gopher football history. Every home game has had a handful of recruits making their "official" visit to Minnesota, but many have been saving their trip for the Michigan game. This is the game we are bringing everybody to. Rivals.com does a great job of tracking this and the list of kids coming to campus this week is impressive and growing.
Clearly the Top 3 recruits are the following three kids. These guys are program changers and can help to raise Minnesota's profile as a big time program that can get big time kids.
- Sheldon Richardson - DL/TE - Richardson is believed to be the first five-star recruit to visit Minnesota (ever). The big man is the #5 ranked player in the country, has given a "soft verbal" to Missouri but is flirting with Miami, Minnesota and others. This was a huge surprise announced on Rivals last night and the message boards are giddy with this enticing bit of information. Landing Richardson would be a huge coup but just having him on campus raises our profile.
- Michael Carter - CB - cousin to Tyrone is finally making his visit to Minnesota as promised. Carter is a 4-star kid being recruited by Florida and Georgia pretty hard. Do not expect a commitment from Carter as he plans to announce during the Arm All-American game in January. Carter is easily in my top 2 of guys I want to see on campus as a freshman in 2009.
- Bryce McNeal - WR - #1 on my wish list. McNeal needs to be the next Minnesota kid who stays home (along with Maresh). His official visit being the same game that the Gophers host Michigan, where McNeal decomitted from, would make for some sweet irony were he to commit this weekend.
- Ra'shede Hageman - TE - "only" a three star recruit but another Minnesota kid that we really must have. Landing Hageman and McNeal would give us the top five kids from the state of Minnesota in this recruiting class which would be unprecedented.
The next group are some of last year's program changing recruits who didn't quite make it in the 2008 class. Having these guys on campus to see some of his teammates again and to put in a good word about the program to the 2009 recruits is big.
- MarQueis Gray - QB - ACT casualty but gets another official visit.
- Spencer Reeves - LB - academic casualty who is excited to see his former Skyline teammates. Will also be valuable as a Texas kid who can chat up some of the other Texas kids coming and help persuade them to move up north.
The next two, along with Richardson above, are the kids we are trying to steal from other programs.
Nosa Eguae - DE - three-star, committed to Colorado, but just might make the switch to Minnesota. Out of Mansfield, TX, Equae is a buddy of our recent decommit, Eric Stephens.
Brent Singleton - LB - three-star, committed to South Carolina in June. Would LOVE to see this guy switch as I think we really need to see a LB in this class. It is also a good thing to start pulling talented kids from the state of Florida and build up even a small pipeline there.
The rest of the visiting group. I don't want to downplay their significance just by listing them last. There are some talented kids in this group and landing good three stars really help to build depth and upgraded talent on this team.
- Matt Garin - DE - Minnesota kid who is currently ranked sixth in the state. We are thin at defensive end, especially in a year or two. Garin would be a great commit this weekend.
- Joey Searcy - DT - 47th ranked player in the state of Texas.
Bryant Allen - ATH - talented player on both sides of the ball and the 14th best player in the state of Missouri.
- Turmour Battle - DB - this two-star corner is the 11th best player in the state of Colorado. Minnesota is his only major school offering a scholarship and I wouldn't be shocked at all to hear him giving his verbal commitment this wekeend.
That my friends is a list of 10 potential recruits (+Gray and Reeves) on campus this weekend. Last year Brewster had a greater than 70% commit rate from kids who took an official visit here. That is an incredible number that is not likely to be reached again. But if we landed half of these guys it will be a successful weekend that would hopefully lead to bigger and better things in the near future for Gopher football.
The names at the top are really huge. Getting some of the best players from other parts of the country raises our profile a little bit. Carter is one of the best players in Florida and Richardson is one of the best players in the country. If they decide on Minnesota, then all of a sudden other kids start to take Minnesota seriously. Same can be said for the local kids. If we can land a class where we lock down the top six or seven of the top 10, then local kids will start to fall in line and realize this is a great destination to have a good career on a competitive team.
The game should be fun and I expect a win, but the Jug might not be the only prize we bring home this weekend. Early next week we should get a handful of new commitments and hopefully some of the top names will eventually decide that their future is with the Gophers.