The recruiting news of the week is clearly Bryce McNeal's de-commitment from Michigan. The local receiver was an early commit to Rich Rodriguez and his decision was a disappointment to Gopher fans. As the number one prospect in the state, it was disappointing to once again see the best Minnesota has to offer choose another school.
But McNeal felt he ended his recruiting process too early and wants to reopen his opportunities. This is great news for the Gophers as he would fulfil an area of great need and would hopefully begin a new trend of the best in state kids choosing to wear maroon and gold for their college careers. It is too early to know much of anything but on the surface this is great news for Gopher fans.
McNeal was seen a couple weeks ago at a Gopher practice and is schedule to take his official visit on November 7th, ironically against Michigan.
Another recruit who verbally committed elsewhere but is still leaving the door slightly open is defensive end, Nosa Equae from Mansfield, TX. Equae is verbally committed to Colorado but is planninng to take an official visit to Minnesota on Nov. 7th for the Michigan game. We need some help on the defensive line especially with the pending graduation of Willie VanDeSteeg. Getting Equae to change his commitment would be a nice addition to the 2009 class.
Finally there is another verbal commitment who seems to be on the edge of changing his mind. Unfortunately this would be a switch away from Minnesota. Four-star running back, Eric Stephens committed to the Gophers in July and now is taking a long look at Texas Tech.
Some are greatly concerned about the potential loss of Stephens. And while I do not want to lose a four-star running back anymore than the next guy I don't think this would be worth declaring that the sky is falling. We have already received a verbal from Hassan Lipscomb who I believe will be our running back of the future. I could easily be wrong and Stephens will turn out to be the greater of the two but with another four-star a solid commitment I will not be crying in my beer about the possible loss of Stephens. Don't get me wrong, I want nothing more than to see them both on the field of TCF Stadium next fall but this is all a part of the recruiting game.
Raiding the JUCO's again...
There are a number of reasons for the 6-1 start, but none as important as the increased talent on the defensive side of the ball. Adding guys like Traye Simmons, Tramiaine Brock and Simoni Lawrence has given us greater athleticism and ability to defend Big Ten offenses. Improved play by Willie VanDeSteeg, Lee Campbell, Garrett Brown and Eric Small have helped a ton as well but the infusion of JUCO talent has made an immediate impact.
Last year's freshman class was outstanding and 2009's promises to be tremendous jug as well. But freshmen at this level have a hard time making an impact. It appears as though we are making another run at some top notch JUCO talent to buy us time until they are ready to carry the load.
A couple of our biggest areas of immediate need are OL and WR, coincidentally that is who we are targeting most heavily at the JUCO level. Here are a few of the big names from the JUCO ranks that we need to pay attention to as they may be the next Big Play Traye.
WR - Jamar Howard - originally a Gopher commit out of high school. Now the 4-star recruit, receives passes from Clint Brewster at College of Sequoias
WR - Hayo Carpenter - 11th best JUCO overall, 4-star WR and would be an immediate upgrade
DB - Taikwon Paige - a fast 4-star, 23rd overall JUCO
OL - James Carpenter - 6'5", 305, 4-star, 32nd overall JUCO
OL - Joe Evingerr - 6'7", 340! 4-star and 34th overall JUCO, teammate of Hayo Carpenter
- OL - Wade Bowen - 3-star guy, with some interest from Florida
We do not have any seniors who start on the offense have only one starter, Jack Simmons, on offense so it will come back virtually intact. But imagine if the OL was shored up a little and if there was another weapon or two for Weber to throw to. It would go from a highly efficient offense to an explosive one.
2010 Watch list
Names are slowly starting to come in with official offers on the 2010 list.
Sentrell Henderson - OL, TE, DL - top 20 in country, could be a five-star and the first five-star to commit to the Gophers. Will be recruited heavily by all the major heavyweights.
Joel Bauman - RB - out of Kerkoven, Bauman is great wrestler as well as an outstanding runninback. Wis, Stan, Ore, Boise
Beau Allen - DL from Minnetonka - Wis, Iowa, MN
- Jimmy Gjere - OL - Offer from MN and has interest from Wisconsin. Athletic lineman from 5A Irondale
Current Top 10
This is my personal wish list. Guys who have the Gophers on their radar and most are considered reasonably getable.
Bryce McNeal - WR - was #1 on my list last week and will surey stay after the de-commit from Michigan.
Michael Carter - CB - cousin of Tyrone Carter, we have to beat out Florida, Georgia, Miami and West Virginia. No Problem! Will make his official commitment at the Army All-American game in January.
- Ra'shede Hageman - TE - another local kid being recruited heavily by Wisconsin and Ohio State. Would look good in the Spread Coast.
Hayo Carpenter - WR - brand new to my top 10, but we need help at WR really bad.
- Jamar Howard - WR - receiving passes from Clint Brewster. Four star JUCO and if you are noticing a trend here then you are smarter than your comments make you out to be.
Craig Drummond - DE - Chicago four-star. Probably the biggest longshot on the list, so much so he probably shouldn't be here. Moved down from last week.
- Edward Nuckols - DT - 28th best DT overall, 29th best out of California. Benches 300 and squats 450. New to the list. ASU, AZ and Col are after him
- Cam Gordon - WR - Michigan native with Michigan State after him hard.
- Kendrick James - OLB - defensive help is still a major need. 3.3 GPA is also nice to see.
Frank Crawford - S - three star out of Miami. Ole Miss is the likely frontrunner. Also offers from Alabama, FSU, W Vir, S Flor and S Car.
Sentrell Henderson - OL - I know he's a junior, but he's one of the top juniors in the country and it would be tremendous to keep him at home.
Head to Head
I'm going to look into this in greater detail for a future Roden Recruiting, it seems to me like we are going head to head with Colorado and Ole Miss on a number of recruits. Last year it was Arizona State. This year I'll dig into this a little deeper and see just how many and who we are battling with the Buffs and the Rebels.