Gopher football has been hosting recruits at each of their home games this season. The coaching staff spent the bye week all over the country visiting high school practices and games. But all of their effort is yet to yield a verbal commitment since Jalen Myrick commited on August 6th. The natives are getting a little restless!
But the commitments will come, eventually. When they will come and who they will be is incredibly difficult to predict. So instead I want to list out my top 10 wish list. Guys who have shown some interest in becoming a Golden Gopher and guys who we have a shot at landing. This list is completely arbitrary and just one man's opinion. I've put my completely arbitrary guess at our % chance of landing said recruit. Here is my Top 10 (and by 10 I mean 12)
RB - Berkley Edwards - I've discussed the Michigan RB/WR here several times and it is no secret that he would be one of the headliners of this class were he to commit. The brother of Braylon Edwards would be a game-breaking, big-play threat; something desperately needed on this offense when MarQueis Gray graduates. 33% chance of landing
- S - Malik Rucker - local kid committed to Iowa. But Rucker might be coming for an official visit and might be this year's Andre McDonald. 9%
S - Neiko Robinson - currently committed to Penn State but the Florida safety took an official visit to Minnesota last weekend. 21%
- DT - Hendrik Ekpe - younger brother to Scott, a good player who would fill an area of need. 83%
- DT - Toby Johnson - JUCO tackle getting looks and offers from a lot of big schools. 3.141592%
- LB - Rayfield Dixon - visiting next weekend, this Florida linebacker is making his fourth official visit after checking out Purdue, West Virginia and Wake Forest. 26%
RB - Jordan Huff - Alabama running back who suffered an injury as a junior. Prior to that he was one of the top players in the state. He is planning to take an official to Minnesota. 31%
WR - Drew Wolitarsky - big, possession type receiver who now owns a couple California high school receiving records. I think we have some young play-makers in Andre McDonald and Jamel Harbison, Wolitarsky gives us a big target to wrack up first downs. 64%
WR - Hunter Jarmon - athletic receiver who would also play baseball. This Texas receiver has offers from several BCS schools. 51%
LB - unidentified JUCO - many believe that the Gopher staff will hit the JUCO ranks pretty hard to help replace the three graduating linebackers. Antonio Longino and Martell Spraight have received offers. 88%
LB - Reggie Spearman - big and physical linebacker who has committed to Illinois. He seems to be loving/playing the recruiting game a bit too much, but physically he might be the best linebacker we have a shot at landing. 4%
- S - Tedric Thompson - brother to Cedric. 83%
There are a handful on this list that would quickly turn this recruiting class from a ho-hum class to one we can get excited about. It would be really nice to see recruiting pick up a little bit for football. But with so few scholarships available it may be a situation where the coaching staff is reluctant to accept too many verbals at this point so they make sure they get exactly who they want.
Moving on to basketball where we have a couple of recent commits to talk about.
First to commit was Alvin Ellis and SG/SF out of Chicago. Ellis is a scorer and that, more than anything else, has me excited to see him next year. I tracked down Joe Henricksen from the Chicago Sun-Times Hoops Report to get his thoughts on Ellis and the commitment to Minnesota.
What excites you about Alvin Ellis is that he is one of those players that hasn't reached his ceiling yet. So many players plateau, but Ellis has come a long way in the past 12 months and still has room to grow as a player. He might not be as polished and ready as some Big Ten recruits right away, but he's also a prospect who you could see yourself looking back on in two or three years and wonder, "Why didn't more high-major programs recruit this kid?" I think Ellis can be a nice complementary player for a good Big Ten team. In time, with his length and size on the perimeter, he can evolve into a very solid perimeter defender. He plays fast, he finishes well in transition. His shot has improved but must get more consistent.
A year ago Ellis was part of a De La Salle team that was loaded with D1 talent. But because of various circumstances everyone on that team transferred out...except Ellis. Henricksen blogged about Ellis deciding to stay. I am excited about this commitment and am anxious to track Ellis throughout the season to see how he handles being the front-man on his team.
Also committing to Minnesota is power forward, Alex Foster who was one of Ellis's teammates who has since transferred out. Foster is an athletic forward who has been considered one of the top Chicago players in his class for year. Henricksen sees Foster potentially growing into a "blue-collar 4-man who gets things done by competing, being physical, getting on the glass, doing some of the dirty work."
I like how it appears these guys will compliment each other well. And if (IF, IF, IF) Tubby can land a dynamic player in the next class (Rashad Vaughn or Tyus Jones), then we have a couple very nice complementary players and the makings of an outstanding team.
So what is next with two scholarships still available? I desperately hope they bank one of the scholarships for next year's class. But the other? Let's do another list...
- PF - Nigel Hayes - Ohio native who has his decision down to four schools Minnesota, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Stanford. After getting shutout by other forwards this fall, Hayes is about the only recognizable name left on the board. 37.5%
- PF - Gavin Schilling - OK, Schilling is also on the board but he will not be making his commitment until the spring. I would guess that he is hoping to have a great senior season and see his recruiting stock rise. 31%
That is it. I think we can land one of these two and then we heavily pursue the current juniors. We could go the JUCO route to get another guard or a center, but the problem that creates is it would add a 6th scholarship player to the class of 2015. You don't really want to have that kind of a roster imbalance. So there may end up being a JUCO player pursued but it better be an impact player or we are making a mess for ourselves down the road. If you can land a JUCO who still has three years of eligibility, that might be a great direction to go if balancing out your classes is important.
For your information below is a scholarship grid for basketball updated with the two most recent commitments.
As I've already stated, I'd love to see one more scholarship player this year and three available for the next. I'm pleased with the additions to the 2013 class, even if it took MONTHS to get a couple commitments. I like the pair we have landed.