Check out this recap of Kill's first recruiting class.
Notice anything about it? I noticed how much we underestimated Kill's ability to identify specific abilities and qualities in recruits and maximize them in his system. For example, Theiren Cockran. Unranked by all the recruiting sites.
Another DE added late to the 2011 class. We have several young defensive linemen on the roster but this year's crop of three should be well groomed to replace them in a couple years. Cockran hails from Homestead, FL and had offers from Purdue, Northern Illinois and others but obviously chose the Gophers late. He is rather thin but should have a couple years to grow and develop before he'll be counted on as a pass-rushing end.
7.5 sacks this year. Not bad for an unranked prospect.
Or how about Derrick Wells? Another unranked recruit.
A very late commit, Wells chose Minnesota over Ball State. 75 tackles and 6 INTs as a JR in Lehigh Acres, FL. DB was a huge area of need and emphasis by Kill and staff. Wells will almost certainly redshirt but will add depth in an area where it is very much needed.
I know he's been nicked up this year, but Wells is one of our top DBs, and certainly a solid B1G DB at worst.
Or Chris Hawthorne. Another unranked recruit.
Hawthorne is actually a transfer from NC State and will be eligible to play immediately in 2011 because he was not a scholarship player for the Wolfpack. He is a former soccer player who has only been playing football for two years and should have a very good chance to start for the Gophers this fall. Not technically a part of this recruiting class but he is an additional scholarship to the program and I'm listing him here.
My favorite thing about him was this comment made by Go Gophs:
I still can't believe that the only kickers we signed were a non-scholarship player transfer for the wolfpack and a preferred walk-on.
I don’t know exactly who will be kicking this year, but it will either be
1) Someone who could not be out Ellestad last year (scary)
2) A guy who was not good enough for a scholarship at NC State
3) Preferred walk-on
Does Chip Lohmiller have any kids yet!!
All good points, right? How does 4/5 from 40-49 yards sound? 76.5% overall accuracy? That's not too bad, right?
Or preferred walk-on Pete Mortell? Two time B1G Special Teams player of the week? Or preferred walk-on Jon Christenson? Starting center until getting hurt?
Part of me wants Kill to start getting some 4 start recruits in, but I'm pretty stoked looking back on these guys and seeing what we thought, and then seeing how they turned out. It's very heartening.