A Midsummer's Recruiting update

It is mid-July and it will not be long before Gopher football hits training camp. Recruiting is in full swing right now with recruits taking unofficial visits, attending camps and many making their non-binding verbal commitments. The Gophers have had a handful of recent verbals bringing their overall class up to nine. My daily routine consists of checking GopherIllustrated at least 4 or 5 times a day hoping for a new verbal commitment to pop up.

A typical recruiting class will have 25 players (give or take a couple). We currently have 11 future Gophers who have said they want to play for Tim Brewster, here is a brief synopsis of the current class of 2011.

Plenty of good info after the break (this is a long post)

Tommy Olson
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Position: Offensive Guard

Measurables: 6-4 / 275

Videos: [1]

Rankings:
- Rivals: #25 OG, #1 in Minnesota, (3*)
- Scout: #75 OG (3*)
- ESPN: #14 OG (4*)

BCS Offers: none, committed to MN as a junior

Notes: YAY, we have finally landed the #1 player in the state! Olson's brother is a redshirt freshman on the team and the Olson brothers should be very good Gopher linemen over the next few years.

ESPN Analysis...Olson is a crushing run blocker who excels when asked to pull and trap. Has the size and athleticism for the offensive guard position at the major level of competition. Lines up in a three point stance showing good explosion and initial quickness coming off the ball; gets very good initial fit and pad level on contact; rolls his hips and brings his feet with a solid base; is able to get defenders up on their toes resulting in immediate movement off the line of scrimmage.

Only being a 3-star ranking from Rivals is surprising but I expect that will change this fall.

Devin Crawford-Tufts

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via vmedia.rivals.com

Position: Wide Receiver

Measurables: 6-2 /180 / 4.4

Videos: [[1] [2-state track 200M final] [3-100M final]

Rankings:
- Rivals: NR WR (*)
- Scout: NR WR (*)
- ESPN: NR WR (*)

BCS Offers: Wisconsin

Notes: Edina native who has been described as having "Florida speed". DCT won the state 100M and 200M championship as a junior (videos above). He has good size and great speed and given time could be a dynamite player for the Gophers. DCT had an offer from Wisconsin after camping in Madison but jumped on the Gopher offer when it was given. I expect that he will go from zero star (no evaluations yet) to a three star rating by the gurus before all is said and done.

Kyle McAvoy

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Position: Offensive Tackle

Measurables: 6-5 / 293

Videos: [1]

Rankings:
- Rivals: #NR OT #22 in Illinois, (3*)
- Scout: #34 OG (3*)
- ESPN: #25 OT (3*)

BCS Offers: Arizona, Kansas, Mich St, Northwestern, Syracuse, Louisville

Notes: Kyle and his twin brother are both excited to be Golden Gophers. Brewster continues to bring in several quality offensive lineman again with this class and Kyle McAvoy projects to be a contributor throughout his career.

ESPN...We like his aggressive, tough finishing attitude along with his attempt to get a second and third block downfield. This prospect has all the tools to make the necessary run blocks at the next level of play. Flashes good quick set ability and nimble feet in pass protection; can bend, slide and play flat footed; plays with a good balanced base and is capable of reacting to change of direction moves.

As with nearly all lineman at this level he'll likely redshirt then compete for playing time along with the five linemen we brought in a year ago.

Luke McAvoy

740745_medium

Position: Offensive Guard

Measurables: 6-5 / 278

Videos: [1]

Rankings:
- Rivals: NR OG, (3*)
- Scout: #96 OT (3*)
- ESPN: NR OT (2*)

BCS Offers:Arizona, Kansas

Notes: Pictured on the right along with this brother, Luke is not as guru approved as this larger bro but don't let that fool you. Run blocking doesn't appear to be an issue but he will need time to refine pass blocking techniques. Overall, appears to be a solid pick up that will certainly add depth to the OL down the road.

Max Shortell
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Position: Quarterback

Measurables: 6-6 /215

Videos: [1] [2] [3] [4]

Rankings:
- Rivals: #19 QB, #5 in Kansas, (3*)
- Scout: #38 QB (3*)
- ESPN: #68 QB (2*)

BCS Offers: none

Notes: A state champion with Bishop Shawnee last season, Shortell has very good size for a QB and this will likely be our one QB verbal for the year.

ESPN snippets...Shortell is a big, very nice looking prototypical pocket passer with terrific height, quality arm strength and the size to see the field.

He has a smooth, over-the-top release and will surprise you with great zip on short and intermediate routes when his feet are set. He is an excellent deep ball thrower and has a good feel for the fade and corner route.

However, Shortell needs to be protected to be at his finest. He is a timing passer from within the pocket that is most effective when in rhythm and not holding onto the ball.

Matt LaCosse
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Position: Athlete, likely TE in college

Measurables: 6-6 / 220 / 5.0

Videos: [1]

Rankings:
- Rivals: #71 ATH, #19 in Illinois, (3*)
- Scout: #45 TE (3*)
- ESPN: #47 ATH (3*)

BCS Offers: Cincy, Illinois, Louisville, Purdue

Notes: LaCosse is a high school QB who will likely be a TE at the college level.

ESPN Eval...Lacosse is a great looking player that is playing quarterback, but we feel will be recruited as a tight end. He is tall and has good bulk with the frame to add significant weight. He is an extremely athletic player for his size. Runs very well, is smooth and fluid and makes most of his big plays in this offense with his legs.

Sam Rohr
Samrohr_medium

Position: Tight End

Measurables: 6-3 / 225

Videos: [1]

Rankings:
- Rivals: NR TE, #10 in Wisconsin, (2*)
- Scout: NR TE (2*)
- ESPN: #69 TE (2*)

BCS Offers: Indiana

Notes: Rohr is the first Wisconsin native in this year's class and he currently is ranked the 10th best prospect in the state according to Rivals.

ESPN Eval...Displays adequate speed and seems as a receiver best suited to the short-to-intermediate passing game. He will not make many defenders miss after the catch, but is a tough kid that will fight for yards and not go down easy.

Solid pickup and TE is an area we needed to recruit this year. Also plays hockey for what that is worth.

Quinn Bauducco
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Position: Inside Linebacker

Measurables: 6-3 / 225

Videos: [1] [2]

Rankings:
- Rivals: #31 ILB, #84 in California, (3*)
- Scout: #45 MLB (3*)
- ESPN: #39 ILB (2*)

BCS Offers: none (interest from Northwestern, Stanford)

Notes: Inside LB who is quoted as saying the Gopher coaches want to used him on the outside. Bauducco is a big hitter and wrap-up tackler. 80 tackles, 12 TFL and 4 sacks in 2009 as a junior. The California native will certainly bring some toughness to the Gopher defense as this guy is not afraid of contact and big hits.

Marquise Vann
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Position: Outside Linebacker

Measurables: 6-1 / 215

Videos: [1]

Rankings:
- Rivals: NR OLB (*)
- Scout: #65 OLB (3*)
- ESPN: #38 OLB (3*)

BCS Offers: Mich State, Connecticut, Stanford

Notes: Another tough-minded linebacker, this one with the ability to cover some space in the passing game.

ESPN Eval...This guy has the playing strength to take on and defeat blockers when working to the point of attack; moves through traffic well, avoiding blockers with his quickness. We see very good potential as a coverage player; displays the ability to play in space; is light on his feet; can crossover for depth with eyes on the QB, showing good route awareness and break on the ball.

The Ohio native may be perfectly suited to see early playing time on special teams.

Jephete Matilus
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Position: Outside Linebacker

Measurables: 6-1 / 218

Videos: [1]

Rankings:
- Rivals: NR OLB (*)
- Scout: NR OLB (2*)
- ESPN: #62 OLB (3*)

BCS Offers: Illinois, Kentucky

Notes: Defensive end in high school who will be an outside rusher in the college ranks. Matilus was teammates with Donnell Kirkwood last season and is all set to join him again in Minnesota.

"I have been talking a lot to Donnell lately about Minnesota and we both just thought it was in my best interest to commit and become a Golden Gopher," Matilus said. "Donnell and I are very close and we have known each other for seven or eight years, ever since we played Little League together."


"He is already up in Minnesota and he told me that he absolutely loves it up there. He told me that he never wants to come back home and it gets better and better every day. I am just ready to be a Golden Gopher right now. I want to put the uniform on right now and help them win a Rose Bowl."

As a side note, I love that pic.

Samuel Oyenuga
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Position: Cornerback

Measurables: 6-0 /162 / 4.5

Videos: [1]

Rankings:
- Rivals: NR CB (*)
- Scout: NR CB (*)
- ESPN: NR CB (*)

BCS Offers: none, interest from Wake Forest

Notes: Brewster and staff go back to Texas to get the first defensive back of the 2011 class. Oyenuga is certainly under the radar at this point on the field. But off the field he is bringing with him a 3.0 GPA and 1380 SAT score. Physically he fits the mold of good sized corners that this staff has been recruiting recently. He is obviously bright, he has good size and he'll have time to hopefully develop into a solid contributor in the future.

That is the current class as it sits today. It is possible that one or more will change their minds (it happens) and obviously more will be added. If we take a positional overview I would have the following comments.

Positions Near Complete for this class

QB - typically Brewster likes to bring in one QB per class. Assuming Shortell maintains his commitment he'll be the guy. The 2010 class had 2 QBs but the second was J.D. Pride who will very likely end up moving positions at some point. There are only a couple offers out there, including one to four-star QB Jacoby Brissett. If he wanted to be a Golden Gopher I'm sure we'd take him but it's no likely.

OL - We may not be completely finished along the OL but we do already have three commitments after nabbing five last year. OL foundation of a good program so I'm sure we wouldn't turn away kids the staffed thought were future contributors. If we were able to find a good Center, then you'll see this list grow. Jordan Walsh is the one big name out there that I'm sure the staff would love to land. The four-star guard out of Illinois is uncommitted but has a lot of offers.

TE - Two tight end commitments is plenty. Two will graduate so we'll go into next season with four scholarship TEs on the roster. Peter Westerhouse is a local kid who possibly projects at TE (or LB). He has interest from a lot of schools but only offers from Minnesota and Iowa State. It is good business to keep local kids here and Westerhouse would be a welcome addition to the program. Dillon VanDerWall is another name to watch. He is a west coast kid and nearly a 4-star recruit. His offer list isn't all that long yet and he would be a nice addition if he were to choose Minnesota.

MLB - Two commitments, no seniors on the current roster and the transfer of Brendan Beal from Florida equates to being basically done here. As with all positions we'll take a highly ranked prospect and no doubt the staff is continuing to recruit all positions but this one may not get more than one more commitment in this class. Anthony Wallace from Skyline is a name that is out there. He is a four-star stud with offers from basically everyone. If that Skyline connection is ever going to pay off this would be the time to cash it in.

Positions of Need still

WR - We currently have four junior receivers. This is a position that consistently takes a couple years to learn and excel at. So landing a couple receivers in this class is likely a priority. Rayshon Williams is three-star receiver out of Denver-Mullen. In a class that does not have a lot of top end talent considering the Gophers he is our most realistic shot at a quality receiver. He has a handful of BCS offers but one would think we have a slight advantage for the cousin of Brandon Marshall.

After Williams my money is on a mid-level Florida receiver drinking the Thomas Hammock kool-aid and committing to Minnesota. Maybe a Ruben Gonzalez or Herve Coby or A.J. King (I kind of like King). With the verbal from Crawford-Tuft, hopefully one from Williams and then a third to-be-named-later recruit I think the class will round out with three receivers.

DE - We currently have three red-shirt freshmen on the roster and not one senior so it isn't like this position will be thin anytime soon. But I still envision the Gophers landing a couple ends with this class. Mush like receiver there are not very many upper-end prospects who have the Gophers on their radar. Here are a few names worth remembering.

Deion Barnes is a four-star end in the Philadelphia area. I have not indication that he is even considering Minnesota but we have recruited that are well in recent years so we can at least hope. James Adeyanju is a talented three-star kid out of Chicago but he hasn't mentioned Minnesota lately so I'm not sure I lik e our chances here. The Gophers were the first to offer Roy Robertson but he appears to be leaning towards TCU now.

K - Eric Ellestad is the only scholarship kicker on the roster. We have a couple non-scholarship guys but I'm not sure Brewster and staff want to put the fate of some games in the leg of a non-scholarship kid. Each of the last couple years this appeared to be a priority but the staff has failed to carry a kicker through to signing day. There is very little information out there on kicker offers so it isn't really known who we've offer (if) or even who is worth offering. There are a couple Wisconsin kickers who are at least in the Rivals database. Drew Meyer who played with Tom Parish last year and Nick Holland is a teammate of Sam Rohr; are certainly possibilities. Tyler Vincent is at Blinn CC where Hasan Lipscomb spent 2009.

CB - This is a position that should see at least two recruits every single year. The 2010 class brought in just Tyrone Bouie as the only incoming freshman. This 2011 class really needs to bring in at least two in order to maintain depth in the defensive backfield. Stefan McClure is the best prospect on the board who is still at least mentioning Minnesota as being in the running. That is encouraging but he will be a difficult get as we are up against UCLA and Washington who are the presumed leaders. Corey Tindal is listing Minnesota as a leader but he's also waiting on other offers (and possibly admission issues).

OLB - We have landed a couple outside backers in this class already but I don't think they are done here yet. Leilon Willingham is another Mullen prospect that the Gophers are after. In this case the four-star Willingham has not had a lot to say about Minnesota. He would be at the top of the list for linebackers who would look good in maroon and gold. Mike Moore is a Skyline backer who is currently unranked by Rivals. Iowa State is his current leader, too bad we didn't win that damn bowl game.

The Rest

DT - We did bring in three tackles last season and we do not have any seniors on the roster. It will be recruited for talent and value but not a top priority. We reportedly only have five offers out there, three of them committed, so that would indicate the Gopher staff agrees this is not an area of concern right now.

S - Like corner, you need plenty of defensive backs each and every year. I really like the freshmen we brought in last year (Vereen and Manuel), but with two seniors leaving the program this position will become very thin soon. Maybe not a priority this year but I'm sure we'll see a couple DBs commit this fall. There are not a lot of names out there that appear serious about the Gophers. Dondi Kirby is a name to keep in mind. The four-star safety recently tore his ACL and will miss his senior season. Maybe the Gopher staff sticks with Kirby and he ends up in Minnesota.

FB - Jon Hoese is graduating and that would leave us with just Nick Rengal at FB. This position isn't a dire need but landing a sold FB wouldn't be such a bad idea.

RB - Three running backs in the 2010 class make this position less of a concern for 2011. I think that the staff is looking for a home run back with this class. I doubt you'll see more more than one scholarship being used at running back in this class. Nobody has put the Gophers at the top of their list but give it some time.

Roster matrix

Note that the first column are current verbals and they do not add into the "total" on the right. I have tried to keep this up to date with transfers, but I'm sure there are a couple small errors.

Verbals FR rFR SO JR SR Total
QB 1 2 1 1 - 1 5
RB - 3 - - 3 1 7
FB - - 1 - - 1 2
WR 1 2 1 1 4 1 9
TE 2 - - - 2 2 4
OT 1 3 1 - - 2 6
OG 2 1 1 - - 2 4
OC - 1 - - 2 - 3
OL - - - - 2 1 3
DE - 1 3 1 1 - 6
DT - 3 1 - 2 - 6
OLB 2 2 1 2 1 - 6
MLB 1 - 1 2 1 - 4
CB 1 1 - 1 3 1 6
S - 2 1 - - 2 5
K - - - - - 1 1
P - - 1 - - - 1
LS - - - - - - 0
Tot 11 21 13 8 21 15 78
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