I will try to keep this brief, but how about a quick recruiting update.
Today is the beginning of the early signing period and basketball for now is done with their 2012 recruiting as both scholarships have been accounted for. Another may become available if Rodney Williams decides to enter the NBA Draft or someone transfers, but for now let's assume we only had 2 available.
Wally Ellenson has verbally committed to play for Minnesota. As you may recall he is an athletic perimeter player (6-6 SG/SF) from Rice Lake, Wisconsin. With Wally in the fold Tubby and staff are likely looking to add a big man to replace the departures of Trevor Mbakwe and Ralph Sampson III. These are some of the candidates currently being recruited by the Gopher staff.
Charles Buggs is an athletic, 6-7 power forward playing for Virginia Hargrave Military Academy in Texas. Buggs has offers from Arkansas, Clemson, Marquette, West Virginia and others. Bugg is a kid with strong academics and appears to have a good work ethic. Reports are that Buggs is a well-rounded kid. He comes from a good family, he works hard, takes academics very seriously and is a good basketball player to boot. I'm excited about Buggs.
It is a little disappointing that we didn't land a true big-man in this class to replace Sampson and Mbakwe. But we have added some athleticism with these two guys. With the class signed this week the staff can concentrate and get a head start on filling the three open scholarships for the 2013 class.
The 2012 class is filling up quickly and there are more reports about the staff talking to and offering 2013 recruits with 22 scholarships being accounted for in the current class already.
I always like to take a look at the makeup of the current roster including incoming recruits to get an idea of what position groups are strong in numbers or thin. Please note that this is a difficult list to maintain. Some guys switch positions or some guys move from not being on scholarship to earning a scholarship. I went to the Gopher roster and then went player by player to make sure I was getting guys in the right position and figure out if they are on scholarship or not. I could very easily be off in a couple of instances, James Gillum is a JUCO RB coming in listed under "Verbals", he'll obviously be a JR when he arrives on campus. Guys not on scholarship are not listed and the total column is only adding up guys on the current roster (2012 verbal commitments are not a part of the total).
Looking at the matrix above we seem to have a lot coming back offensively. Over the next two years we are only losing 1 QB, 1 RB, 3 OL and then a handful of WRs/TEs. We also have a lot of verbal commitments and true freshman at all of these positions. I would think that the offense is pretty well recruited for this 2012 class. A wide receiver or tight end might still be added but I think they'd be looking for real quality/value at this point. Defensively we are losing very talented guys at all positions in the next two years. Linebacker has a lot of bodies coming in with this 2012 class but all positions need help here even when factoring in the current set of 12 verbal commitments.
We currently have 22 verbal commitments for the 2012 class with a soft cap of 25 per NCAA rules. We can oversign by three but we have to be under the 85 total scholarship limit. Considering we have just 14 seniors on scholarship (by my count, remember I could be off by a couple) and we assume that there are at least 25 incoming scholarships then there will have to be some decisions made. And by decisions I mean we may be seeing a few guys transferring to be moving closer to their families. Hopefully attrition will be kept to a minimum but that is the simple math of the situation.
I've been waiting for the JUCO rumors to start surfacing and it looks like some names are coming through. Kill and staff have been targeting some defensive backs and offensive linemen from the JUCO ranks. I'm sure we will be hearing about some defensive linemen in the near future too but here are a few names worth keeping an eye on.
Clifford Stokes - CB - 6-1, 175 - Trinity Valley C.C. - Stokes has offers from Iowa State, Houston and Western Kentucky.
Jeremy Baltazar - CB - 6-0, 195 - Blinn C.C. - Amerson is being pursued by Kansas State, Baylor, Utah and Mississippi St.
- Martez Shabazz - CB - 5-11, 170 - Trinity Valley C.C. - fast corner also being pursued by K State, Iowa State and others.
- - CB - 5-11, 185 - Pierce C.C. - Ind, ISU, Kentucky, Utah have all offered Everett.
We'll take all four, we need the help, but I'm sure that would be too many considering we are running out of scholarships. I'm not a huge proponent of recruiting JUCO players but I think it is a necessary evil for new coaching staffs who are trying to change over the roster with players who may better fit their system. Eventually I hope JUCO players are few and far between but I'm sure we will see a handful of part-time players in this recruiting class.
Of course we are still targeting some high school kids. Considering we have verbal commitments from all positions, there isn't really one particular position that we absolutely have to land with one of our remaining scholarships.
- Sean Walters - Safety from Hallandale Beach, Florida. Walters meets the prerequisite of having a Western Michigan offer. But Walters is a sleeper recruit who would give us some help in the secondary.
- Tevin Coleman - a running back from Oak Forest, Illinois who maybe has the most impressive offer list of anyone considering the Gophers. Ill, Iowa, Pur, G Tech, Mich St, Ind and others are after the #12 player in the state of Illinois. He wants to set up a Minnesota visit.
Jean-Marc Charles - is a 255 lb DT from Florida who wants to visit Minnesota and sounds close to commiting. Kind of small for a DT so I'm sure a year of beefing up would be in order.
Jazzmar Clax - ILB from New Jersey who claimed he was coming to Minnesota for a visit but I wasn't able to confirm this. Clax has high interest in Maryland, Minnesota and Arizona St.
Jordan Fields - Ath/S ranked the #20 player in Michigan. He is currently committed to Central Michigan but has been playing well enough to garner more attention from BCS schools which obviously has him rethinking his verbal.
- Will Johnson - TE - the kid is still considering his options. Ole Miss was high on his list but with the firing of Houston Nutt one would think that they are not getting the same consideration. Johnson is focused on his high school season and has not narrowed down his list yet.
Maybe the name I like most on that list Clax. Unfortunately he is a linebackers and we already have five LBs committed. Plus the three guys recruited last year, we have a ton of young linebackers. With that said if Clax was to be the cream of the crop I'd rather have him over eight more average LBs.
I will dig into the incoming class at another time but overall I like the future of our OL, LB, QB and even WRs. We have a lot of incoming DBs though none of them have me eager to buy their jersey. We need the most help along the DL and at DB.
So who are we going to land? First and foremost I would love to see a couple JUCO defensive backs come in who can contribute immediately. Remember the impact that Traye Simmons and Tramaine Brock had as JUCO transfers? We'd be awfully lucky to get that kind of impact but getting a corner and a safety who are good enough to start next year would help this defense tremendously. There don't seem to be any D-linemen on the horizon but you never know. Things can change fast, especially on the JUCO recruiting front. To stay abreast with the comings and goings of Gopher recruiting I would recommend that you subscribe to GopherIllustrated, for my money they are the best recruiting site available to Gopher fans.