I feel as though I should clarify that this is just a recruiting update, it is in no way intended to be construed as predicting a bright and brilliant future for our favorite college football and basketball programs. Regardless of the level of talent that is being recruited, I am not guaranteeing Rose Bowls and Final Fours nor am I overly optimistic about our chances in the Big Ten because the other programs are so full of awesomeness that we could never hope to compare. I just wanted to make that clear in case people only read a little bit and then make assumptions about the text that follows.
First some sad news. Matt Beyer is a kid who grew up in Minnesota and moved to Texas a couple (or few) years ago. Turns out the left tackle is a four-star recruit who committed to Oklahoma in July. The Gophers pursued the young man, but he chose the Sooners. The sad news is that this week Beyer had to give up football due to a neck injury.
I didn't quit football. I choose to leave because of a neck injury that I had no control over. The risk out weighed the rewards #hadnochoice— Matthew Beyer (@Beyer78) September 12, 2012
Too bad that his bright future was cut short so soon. Best of luck to the kid as he moves on from football.
The big visit weekend will be next week with several recruits coming to town. According to GopherIllustrated.com the only visit listed for this weekend is defensive tackle, Damaris Peppers. Maybe Austin and Andre Hollins will spend some time with the Memphis kid who Rivals ranks as the 21st best prospect in the state of Tennessee. Peppers is around 250 lbs and an interior lineman prospect, which means he will need to fill out that 6-3 frame of his. I think we desperately need to find a DT in this class who will be able to contribute. Not an immediate contributor, those are hard to find , but someone who will be a 2 or 3 year starter for us down the line. The future of this position group concerns me after 2013.
Peppers is a nice prospect with offers from Houston, Memphis and ESPN claims an offer from Cincy. His ESPN scouting report isn't exactly glowing but it does give us this...
He does a good job of firing out low and being able to consistently get pad-under-pad and play with leverage. With that he can hold his ground and even get some push into the gap. He flashes the ability to be active with his hands, but does need to do a better job of creating separation and being able to disengage.
Not an overly recruited player but he does some fundamental things well. I believe with a year to hone his skills and a year to get bigger he could be a productive Gopher (But not too productive, I'm not predicting too great of things cause I wouldn't want to do that. And I don't want to assume that Kill and staff can turn any mediocre player into the best defensive tackle the Big Ten has ever seen.). I would bet that Peppers commits this weekend.
According to Rivals, 2014 recruit Jeff Jones will be taking an unofficial visit this weekend as well. Jones is a running back for Washburn and is likely going to be one of, if not the, to recruit in the state next year. He currently holds offers from Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Illinois, Iowa State and Minnesota.
Next week will be a much meatier football recruiting roundup, this week is pretty light.
Hosted three visitors last weekend, none committed. All seemed to enjoy their visits but none were ready to pull the trigger until after they take some other visits.
Gavin Schilling enjoyed his only official visit. He likes the big city atmosphere of the Gopher program but he will likely commit in the spring. This means he will probably commit to Iowa in the next few weeks. I'm kidding, he doesn't have an offer from Iowa. Schilling is a bright kid (speaks four languages) and he is moving on to his fourth high school in as many years. Take those nuggets as you will.
- Cedric Hankerson is the shooting guard from Florida. He also did not commit and will be taking his other official visits to Virginia Tech, Penn and Boston for sure, Oklahoma State is a maybe. I think we end up with Hankerson, but that is just a gut feeling (and then he will go on to be a lottery pick after he takes us to the Final Four! Sorry, I got carried away there for a moment). Hankerson is also a bright kid and the quality of the business school is an important factor for him as he makes his recruiting decision.
- Nigel Hayes also visited last weekend and the Ohio power forward is looking for a place where he can "win multiple championships." I will be shocked if he passes up an Ohio State or even his Wisconsin offer for the Gophers (then he watches the Gophers rack up multiple championships in the next four years, big mistake buddy!).
There are no "official" visitors this weekend but there are a whole host of unofficial ones. And these unofficial visitors are all huge recruits, this is BIG weekend for the classes of 2014 and 2015.
this from Marcus Fuller's blog...
The Gophers don’t have any official visitors scheduled for this week. But they are expecting to unofficially host several top local players from the 2014 and 2015 classes, including Cooper guard Rashad Vaughn, DeLaSalle forward Reid Travis, DeLaSalle guard Jarvis Johnson and Grand Rapids forward Alex Illikainen. Rice Lake (Wis.) forward Henry Ellenson, the brother of Gophers freshman Wally Ellenson, could also join that group. Apple Valley’s high profile junior guard Tyus Jones, the No. 2 player in the 2014 class, might make an unofficial trip to campus on Sept. 22, according to a 1500ESPN interview.
Those are some really big names. Tyus Jones is the one big name that we are not seeing this weekend, though he may come next weekend and he may try to bring his friend Jahlil Okafor.
Rashad Vaughn and Reid Travis are the other huge gets out of Minnesota's class of 2014. Both are visiting and I think we have a realistic shot at both. These unofficial visits, especially for the local kids, do not mean a whole lot. The kids get to hang out with the current team and get a ticket to the football game. This is about building relationships and getting the recruits comfortable with the program and current players.
There are a few key 2015 recruits unofficially visiting this weekend as well. These kids are going to be sophomores and we won't know a ton about them until about this time next year after they get a chance to really shine during next summer's AAU tournaments.
- Jarvis Johnson is a stud point guard out of De La Salle. As a freshman he started for the Islanders and helped lead them to a state title. His name isn't as common yet, but his status is growing significantly.
- Alex Illikainen out of Grand Rapids is a name to know as well. The Gophers have already offered the forward and the soon-to-be sophomore is sure to be a nationally sought after recruit.
- Henry Ellenson is the younger brother of Wally, who will be a freshman for the Gophers this year. Henry is also going to be a big-time recruit who will eventually look good in a Gopher uniform.
Based on their early scouting reports, I believe all three of the names above are going to be BCS caliber kids who will likely be in the top 150 recruits of their class. I'd be thrilled to land all three of them.
Overall this is a pretty quiet weekend on the recruiting front. Quite a few underclassmen taking unofficial visits. Hopefully they want to quit their recruitment early and commit to the Gophers now. (I just used quiet, quite and quit in three consecutive sentences)