So, it was slow on the recruiting front? Oh.
So unbelievably blessed #SkiUMah— Brandon Lingen (@Brandon_Lingen) October 3, 2013
Proud to say that I am officially a Gopher #SkiUMah— Brandon Lingen (@Brandon_Lingen) October 3, 2013
Wayzata (MN) tight end prospect Brandon Lingen made his verbal pledge to the University of Minnesota this morning, the 8th player to do so for the current cycle and 2nd this week. Lingen is a relatively new prospect on the Internet recruiting scene, as he is not currently rated by the 247Sports Industry Composite. The current Trojan selected Minnesota over listed offers from Air Force and FAU.
Lingen is the 2nd tight end prospect, joining highly touted Somerset product Gaelin Elmore, and 5th offensive pledge overall.
Gopher247's Kyle Goblirsch with a quick commitment article ($):
"I got the offer last night. It was a dream come true. I am so fired up. ... I actually just got off the phone with the staff and gave them my verbal. They were really excited to hear the news."
Scout's Allen Trieu had an interesting comment about "this type" of player ($):
You have to like a kid who stayed patient and worked for the offer too. The staff was able to watch him as a senior before making a decision and obviously liked what they saw. These guys, who are evaluated for longer and don't get the early offers, tend to make it.
Hmm. Seems anecdotal to me. I'll take it though.
Nothing else stands out in the quotables department, though it's interesting to note that Lingen only played 2 games as a junior and he reportedly gained 35 lbs. in a year. That may explain much of the interest level and why the Gopher staff needed to see senior film before pulling the trigger. Very much a "bleed Maroon and Gold" type of kid from one of the state's perennial high school powers.
(Likely Fraudulent) Measurables
Weight: 245 lbs.
Fake 40 time: lolwut
Early senior year, via Hudl. The series of blocks starting at the 0:32 mark my actually be favorites.
Pardon my delay in getting this SotS post up, since it took me a little while to gather information about the newest pledge. This one came as a surprise given I don't believe he was on any recruitnik's close radar.
I'll say this about Lingen's commitment: if this is an indication of the staff fully committing, through recruitment, to the power run game they've put on display this season (the disaster against Iowa aside), then I'm all for it. Recruiting blocking tight ends is horribly unsexy, a strategy so inoffensive it is surpassed in banality only by the recruitment of long snappers (although some get really offended by the idea of offering a scholarship to a pure special teams player).
Lingen does the task Lincoln Plsek is called upon to execute most Saturdays, and he does it well: Look at the guy in front of you and block him. Hook him, wall him off, drive him 5-10 yards in an opposite direction. Repeat this process about 50 times.
In the context of moving toward the Stanford model of using multiple tight ends, h-backs and fullbacks to destroy opposing run fits, landing a kid like Lingen absolutely fits a need. As Chris Brown over at Smart Football mused in a post about recruiting intricacies of spread versus pro-style teams:
Where I do agree with it is in terms of depth. A spread-to-pass team has different depth needs than a flexbone team, and in turn they have different needs than a tight-end heavy team like Stanford. Every team wants to have a couple of good wide receivers, but only the spread to pass team needs eight of them; whereas only the flexbone team needs 10 runningbacks on the roster and none of them but Stanford need to have more than a couple of tight-end types. It absolutely takes time to build that kind of depth.
Emphasis mine. This staff has recruited no less than 7 scholarship tight ends during their tenure, each with a unique skillset compared to the rest. Plsek is a pure blocker, Drew Goodger is a more traditional TE who blocks and can slip out for a sneaky route or two. Maxx Williams fills the h-back and playmaking roles very well. Nick Wozniak will be a terror in the redzone after he redshirts. 2014 recruit Gaelin Elmore is more akin to Maxx Williams as an athletic tight end with considerably better blocking ability in high school. Lingen is a trench guy. You need trench guys.
Folks who follow recruiting, even from the armchair, may be scratching their heads at this one. Something about a small class, PLAYMAKERS, "too soon," lightly recruited and an Al Davis speed boner. My retort, though not quite of the "trust the coaches" ilk, is fairly close. If the injury to Mike Henry and a Chernonyl event that was the Iowa gameplan highlighted anything, it was Minnesota doesn't have enough workable tight ends/h-backs/fullbacks on the roster, at least not at a point where the depth of skills is available and balanced. I see no reason why, in this offense or the offense Limegrover/Kill are constructing, taking a second (blocking) tight end should be met with consternation. We don't need 8 receivers; Minnesota needs MOAR TIGHT ENDS, and MOAR RUNNING BACKS. Golden-I is invincible!
A second blocking tight end for your recruiting class doesn't need to be highly recruited and/or highly rated by the Internet. These dues are the platoon hitters, the closers by committee or, to use a term I despise, the "Moneyball" guys of football. They are not highly coveted or ranked, because A) fewer teams actually need them in the age of "the spread" (intentional satirical quotes mine) and B) recruiters tend to undervalue blocking tight ends as scholarship players relative to their overall contributions because they may feel those types of skills are available from walk-ons. I say, if a prospect is really good at blocking and blockin' is really important to your MANBALL offense, that player is worthy of a 'ship. Lingen is really good at blocking. There you go.