There is a little joke around the press box that Brewster only gets recruits to commit after a loss. Ohio State in 2007 and Michigan in 2008 are two prime examples of losing a game but gaining more commitments than home games that we have won. Much of that may have to do with bringing in more recruits on those weekends, but the trend is continuing. Last weekend's win over Air Force saw more than a dozen recruits taking their official visits. None of them have committed (yet). This past weekend there were only a handful of visits but two of them have given their word to Brewster that they'll be coming here in 2010.
James Manuel - Indianapolis, IN (Warren Central HS) - 6'1", 195 lbs
Currently a corner who will be playing safety for the Gophers in the future. Manuel breaks the recent trend of getting verbal commitments from kids who's only offer from a BCS school was Minnesota. He is thwarting offers from the likes of Cincinnati, Iowa, Louisville and Michigan State to come and play for the Golden Gophers. Manuel is a three-star prospect and according to Rivals is the 9th best player in the state of Indiana.
Here are a couple highlights from his ESPN bio...
Manuel is a solid skilled player that can line up as a safety or a corner. He has good size and speed to play in the secondary. Plays the deep ball very well and has good natural talent and instincts. Demonstrates good timing when going up for the ball or deflecting the pass. Seems to play with a lot of confidence and savvy.
Does keep excellent inside body position on the receiver from the cornerback position. Very solid and aggressive tackler coming up from both the safety and corner positions. Really thrives on full contact; often explodes through the ball carrier or receiver and does a super job of driving his legs to finish the tackle.
All in all this is a solid commitment. It sounds like he has solid coverage skills and can tackle well enough to be effective at the safety position.
DT - Josh Tauaefa - Corinth, TX - 6'2" 265 lbs
Rivals currently does not give Tauaefa any stars and his offer list is pretty unimpressive (Houston, UNLV and UTEP are the highlights). ESPN's eval says he shows flashes of doing things very well but it sounds like consistency is keeping him from excelling.
Tauaefa is a tough kid who can be a little like a bull in a china shop at times. Needs to keep working on some of the little things, but shows flashes of being a tough defender.
Forgive me if I'm not doing backflips over this commit. We seriously need some depth at this position so good that we are getting something but his resume isn't inspiring.
Other Visits who have not yet committed
"To be honest I was ready to commit last night. I was very close to telling Brew I wanted to join Gopher Nation, but I wanted to go home and talk it over with my mom. I will do that tonight and then probably sleep on it and I will likely call Coach soon. I might decide to visit Texas Tech or Arizona State first, but I don't know if there is a need to. I came into my visit with a lot of love for Minnesota, the coaches, and the team and my visit only made me love them more. Coach Brew has Minnesota on the rise and I think I want to be part of that."
WR - Chris Hawkins - Three star receiver with offers from a bunch of BCS schools including Cal, Neb, Ark, AZ, AZ St, Kan, Kan St and Kentucky. The Houston native is going to wait until his senior season is over before committing.
LB - Willie Tatum - currently a Bowling Green commit, but sounds like he could be switching over to the Gophers. Two star kid out of Pickering, OH. ESPN's eval makes it sound like the hybrid-LB type is a big under the radar kind of kid who's recruiting may continue to heat up. "we still feel Tatum has a lot of physical tools, size and athleticism to mold up and develop into a quality BCS level outside backer."
OL - Johnathan Ragoo - BIG kid who's only other offer is Miami (the Florida one). 6'7", 355 lbs! My money is on this monster being golden when all is said and done.
"I love Minnesota and I could see myself as a Golden Gopher. I just want to talk to my mom and bring her up here to see the campus and meet everyone. We will be back soon so she can see it. I might take a visit to Purdue, but I really don't know right now. I feel like Minnesota might not be able to be beat."
It is odd, isn't it that we get commits after losses and after wins the kids all go home to think about it? Overall, I'm thrilled with the Manuel commit and it sounds like we'll get a couple more in the near future.