Minnesota Football Recruiting Update - 1/18/13

Scott Halleran

Recruiting for the 2013 cycle is heading down to the wire. An update on this weekends official visitors and perhaps how the Gophers will close out this class.

The Gophers hadn't picked up a verbal commitment in over a month and were even at risk of losing a prospect or two from the Scroll of the Sworn as some helmet schools started sniffing around at Jerry Kill's pledges. That is, until Rayfield Dixon committed this morning. Spots and time are both growing thin as the Minnesota staff is hard at work finding prospects to fill the last remaining spots in the current cycle over the next three weeks.

Just don't expect a lot of fireworks from this weekend (since one just went off), since the official visit list is small and the staff is waiting on decisions from several prospects.

Official Visitors (list courtesy of Gopher Illustrated)

Rankings according to 247Sports industry composite*, where available.

Name Pos. Hometown Height Weight Ranking Notes
Jalen Myrick CB Savannah (GA) Savannah Christian 5'10" 185 3 star Gopher commit
Reggie Spearman OLB Chicago (IL) Simeon HS 6'2" 219 3 star Illini commit

Thoughts

Myrick has been a solid Gopher commit since he took an unofficial visit over the summer and pulled the trigger last August, although he waited until January in order to make his official visit -- a somewhat unusual and curious move. Why curious? Long time commits who made the trip cross country to visit a school on their own dime earlier generally take an official visit during the season or shortly thereafter. There's some indications Myrick may have qualification issues and he's rumored to schedule an official visit to Middle Tennessee the following weekend; both the Gopher staff and Myrick may be making contingencies.

Still, Myrick is visiting (he tweeted as much), so unless things go completely down hill on his OV or the failsafe plans kick in, he should remain a Gopher through NSD.

Spearman's visit is where things get even more interesting. With Dixon's pledge, the Gophers now have three prep linebackers -- two of whom are listed as outside defenders. There was some chatter (or a working theory on how the Gophers will close the 2013 cycle) about the staff looking to take 2 additional LBs, though this was before Rayfield entered the fold. With Spearman, a tepid at best Illini commit, visiting this week, Duke Riley still uncommitted and another linebacker prospect looking to visit (would be an SEC flip, no less), that's a lot of recruiting action for one position.

The staff is clearly hedging their outside linebacker bets here, since they simply can't accept a commitment from all three targets (let alone two) and they may not even have that many scholarships available, period. By my rough, unofficial count, the Gophers have only one spot remaining for the 2013 class accounting for Brian Bobek's eligibility and the Internet sleuthing regarding possible attrition. Now, there may be another spot opening up (which bumps the count to 17) and there's certainly the possibility for another out of the blue; the staff can also petition the Big Ten office to oversign by a max of three, provided they give sufficient reason why they'd need to do so.

I'm thinking the final number will be around 18. Possibly 19. But no more.

Back to Spearman, the Gopher staff has been recruiting him since June, though his history as a flaky prospect is thorough. He committed than decommitted to Indiana in under a week; referred to the Gophers as his leader shortly after offering only to announce a new #1 (Illinois) after they came through as well; verballed to the Illini in August only to start looking around during the season; took an official visit to Iowa and will close with OVs to Minnesota and Purdue before making a final decision on signing day. Got all that?

Reggie is flaky and not at all a prospect Minnesota fans should count on, though there's something to be said about conditional probabilities and possible outcomes. As I stated above, the staff appears to want another outside linebacker but only a really good one. The marginal added benefit to this class from securing another OLB verbal diminished significantly after Dixon committed; the staff may choose to spread around their remaining 2-4 spots on the best available players, regardless of position.

Closing Out the Class

Natural segway. Here's a list of prospects the staff is after and still has a legitimate chance at landing:

  • Spearman.
  • Riley.
  • Drew Wolitarsky, WR - Canyon Country (CA) Canyon HS
  • Tedric Thompson, S/ATH - Valencia (CA) Valencia HS (Cedric Thompson's little brother).
  • Nate Wozniak, TE - Greenwood (IN) Center Grove HS
  • Vontarius West, CB - Bartow (FL) Bartow HS
  • Raphael Webb, RB - Gainesville (FL) Gainesville HS
The last four prospects on this list are scheduled to take an official visit in the next two weeks. There's also the SEC OLB scheduled to visit and additional murmurs of other surprise guests. Nine prospects to fill between 2-4 spots. Kill and his assistant face stiff competition to land each of these players. Exciting stuff.

If I had to pick where I'd think the staff would order the most desired "gets," another wide receiver (ahem I mean WSR) would slightly rank above another defensive back (preferably a safety) and then another linebacker. But really, it's about who commits first. Position flexibility for Thompson (not to mention the familial angle) and Wozniak is an added bonus as well.
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