Commitment #4 is in the proverbial books:
Quite the coup for Jerry Kill and the Gopher staff.
Somerset (WI) tight end prospect Gaelin Elmore selected Minnesota this morning over offers from Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan State, Iowa State and Indiana. Currently rated a 3 star prospect by the 247Sports Industry Composite, Elmore is the 28th rated tight end for the class of 2014. It's been a long time since the Gophers bested the Badgers for a Wisconsin state prospect they really wanted, let alone going head-to-head with Nebraska for a recruit... and winning.
From Kyle Goblirsch's commitment article at Gophers247:
"It’s close to home. Family gets to go through this experience with me. It’s just a good fit."
What really stood out to Elmore, however, was the intensity and physical nature of the Gophers' spring practices:
"It was a really physical scrimmage, and that’s the biggest thing I was looking for. ... At the end when Coach Kill got in players faces. That was great to see. It gave me goose bumps a little bit. Just the whole atmosphere of the whole scrimmage was really eye opening, and showed me a lot about the Gophers."
(Likely Fraudulent) Measurables
Weight: 240 lbs.
Fake 40 time: 4.9s
Junior year highlights via Hudl.
I'm obliged to point out that, once again, the 2014 class will be a small one; the Gopher staff must be judicious with whom they pursue and really place a premium on difference makers. In Elmore, they have a potential every down tight end with the versatility and athleticism to make a difference in the passing game, an aspect of his overall skill-set that compliments his best attributes: physicality, toughness and strength. Coach Kill and Limegrover intend to pair him opposite Maxx Williams as a strong 1-2 punch at the tight end spot, as they're similar prospects from a scheme versatility perspective.
Whereas guys like Drew Goodger, Lincoln Plsek and 2013 incoming freshman Nate Wozniak are more physical, blocking tight ends that can slip out on occasion (especially in the red zone), Williams and now Elmore are the type of weapons that can stretch the seams and keep safeties/linebackers honest in the passing game. Expect to see many occasions in which Elmore will flex out wide.
As for the game within the game of recruiting, beating out rival Big Ten and regional programs for prospects they want is crucial for this staff if they're to take that next step at Minnesota. While it's not a glamour position like quarterback or running back, talented tight ends are a large part of the Limegrover offense, especially as they try to diversify the attack with more playmakers. Having said that, landing a Wisconsin prospect with a Badger offer has to make one feel good about the direction Kill's recruiting is taking in his 3rd full cycle with the Gopher program.