2013 Gopher Football Recruiting Primer - Offense

With the ink on the 2012 recruiting class barely dry it is already time to start looking forward to 2013's recruiting class.

By my count (which could be off by a couple) there are only 12 scholarship seniors on the current Gopher roster. What that means is that this is going to be a small recruiting class for Jerry Kill and staff. With such a small class on the horizon maybe, just maybe, the staff will be able to land a handful of higher rated recruits selling their need for quality and not quantity.

Quarterback

Starter: MarQueis Gray (SR)
Second String: Max Shortell (SO)
Depth: Dexter Foreman (rFR), Moses Alipate (JR)

2012 Recruits: Philip Nelson and Mitch Leidner - The belief here is that Nelson is your quarterback of the future. He'll redshirt this year and then compete with Shortell next year for the starting job. Nelson may very well be a four-year starter. Leidner has been heralded by Kill as a very accurate passer who will remain a QB for now, but there is a belief that he will eventually switch positions if he wants to contribute on the field. I feel pretty good about this position both now and in the coming seasons.

2013 Recruiting Needs: This may not be a huge area of focus for the coaching staff in the 2013 class. Most programs will try to bring in one QB with every class, but the depth chart looks to be well stocked even with the potential position switch of Alipate to TE. If Alipate and Leidner both switch positions, then this position becomes thinner and a QB will be needed in this class.

Projected Number of Commitments: 0

Running Back

Starter: um...take your picks
Second String: James Gillum (JR), David Cobb (SO), Donnell Kirkwood (SO)
Depth: Devon Wright (SO)

2012 Recruits: Roderick Williams and Gillum.

2013 Recruiting Needs: Five running backs on the roster but none of them appear to be a true "feature back." Now maybe that isn't totally fair considering we haven't really seen Gillum or Williams but I believe that most of the backs on the roster do somethings well while lacking in other areas. Ultimately we are lacking a complete running back. The good news (kind of) is that over the next two years we will only be losing one. So the staff can really focus on a key guy or two that they feel can carry the load offensively. I'm dreaming of a big time running back recruit in this class.

Potential Targets: Chris Davis was one of the top juniors in the state of Ohio and tore up his knee during his junior season. Assuming he can recover this might be the kind of kid ignored by other major programs that we can sneak into Dinkytown. We have offered Greg Bryant of Delray Beach, FL, Godwin Igwebuike from Pickering, OH (unsure if he's related to Donald) and close to offering David Yancy of Saint John, IN. The first two guys have an impressive offer list and it is unclear where the Gophers stand with either of them. Michael Sales is a local kid who currently has seen interest from Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota.

Projected Number of Commitments: 1

Wide Receiver

Starters: Devin Crawford-Tufts (SO), Marcus Jones (SO), Brandon Green (SR)
Second String: Malcolm Moulton (JR), Ge'Shun Harris (SR), Isaac Fruechte (SO)
Depth: Victor Keise (JR), Cameron Wilson (SO), Logan Hutton (SO)

2012 Recruits: Andre McDonald, Jamel Harbison, KJ Maye - McDonald and Harbison both could very easily work their way into the 2-deep or even the starting lineup. To be honest even KJ Maye could be a playmaker that the staff simply cannot afford to keep off the field. There is a lot of excitement that we now have a very talented and reliable "go-to" receiver in McDonald, we have pure speed in Devin Crawford-Tufts and we have a couple play-makers in the slot with Jones and Harbison. I very much like our receivers.

2013 Recruiting Needs: Another area were we are not heavy on upper-classmen. Our most talented players at this position are freshmen and sophomores. I expect that one or two will be brought in with this class as well but considering they just brought in three true freshmen to go with a trio of talented sophomores, I do not expect there to be a lot of receivers in this class.

Potential Targets?: Marquez North, teammate of Jamel Harbison's at Mallard Creek. North is a four-star recruit with offers from at least 15 BCS programs. Rob Wheelwright is the brother of Ernie. The Ohio native has offers from Michigan, Nebraska and others but maybe the Gophers will have a certain family member to point Rob in the right direction. Tedric Thompson is the brother of current Gopher Cedric Thompson. All three of these kids seem to be talented recruits where we have somewhat of an "in".

Projected Number of Commitments: 1 or 2

Tight End / H-Back

Starter: John Rabe (SR)
Second String: Drew Goodger (SO)
Depth: Sahr Ngekia (JR)

2012 Recruits: Maxx Williams is the one guy who is most likely to play TE as a Gopher but there are a few other guys who may end up at this position including Duke Anyanwu and Lincoln Plsek.

2013 Recruiting Needs: It depends on how many of this year's freshmen athletes move to this position. If Williams stays here and Anyanwu moves here and if another guy does as well, then we probably don't take anybody at this position in this class. I don't think this is a huge area of focus in the 2013 recruiting class.

Projected Number of Commitments: 0

Offensive Tackle

Starter: Ed Olson (JR) and Jimmy Gjere (SO)
Second String: Marek Lenkiewicz (SO) and Foster Bush (rFR)
Depth: Kyle McAvoy (rFR) and Sean Ferguson (SO)

2012 Recruits: Jonah Pirisg and Ben Lauer - Pirsig was one of the prizes of this particular recruiting class and most believe that he is the LT of future when Olson graduates. Lauer was more under the radar but some think had he not been injured in high school his stock would have been much higher.

2013 Recruiting Needs: Like the rest of the offense this is a very young unit, notice no seniors in the eight names mentioned. If this going to be a huge focus? Again, not likely. Overall I would expect two or three offensive linemen in the class but I don't know if any of them will be a tackle. I would expect that one probably will be.

Potential Targets?: Kyle Bosch is from Wheaton, IL and is in the early Rivals top 100. He has a ton of major offers so I'm not sure what our chances are. We have also offered Ethan Pocic from Lemont, IL. Also a four-star and higher rank than Bosch with a ton of offers. Landing either one would be a major win for Kill and staff.

Projected Number of Commitments: 1 or 2

Interior Offensive Line

Starter: Zac Epping at center (SO), Tom Olson (SO) and Josh Campion (SO)
Second String: Zach Mottla (JR), Caleb Bak (SO) and Joe Bjorklund (rFR)
Depth: Luke McAvoy (rFR)

2012 Recruits: Isaac Hayes was the lone interior line recruit of this class.

2013 Recruiting Needs: I believe that we are pretty well set at tackle for the next few years and although we do have any scholarship upper classmen here, I think we could use another interior lineman.

Potential Targets?: Chandler Wright is a Wayzata guard receiving interest from Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. Wright moved to Minnesota from Louisiana a year ago so the likelihood of staying here for college is unknown. No other significant names have been mentioned in connection with Minnesota.

Projected Number of Commitments: 1

There is a pretty consistent theme offensively. We are a young offense and there are not a ton of available scholarships so do not expect a lot of offensive commitments.

The crop of wide receivers that may have some ties to the Gopher program is very interesting. I would love to land Wheelwright, North and Thompson. Even with the glut of young receivers we have, I'd be happy with any or all three of those guys. But more than anything I want to land a big-time running back in this class. A few of the early targets have offers from all over, usually this means they are unreachable. And that is still probably the case, but all it takes is one guy to say yes. C'mon Coach, get that kid to say no to other helmet schools and yes to Minnesota.

Every other position is worth keeping an eye on but there is not a ton of offensive need in this class. I'm going to make an assumption that we will sign a total of about 15 players in the 2013 class. The numbers may look a little different a year from now but I'm using 15 as my baseline assumption. That could be plus or minus 3 depending on admission of current class, transfers and other attrition. With taht as my baseline I think that only 5 or 6 scholarships (maybe less) will be used on offense. There seem to be more targets defensively in the early stages of recruiting, they will get the majority of the 2013 scholarships. More on the defense another day.

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