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Minnesota Football Recruiting: Less Than 1 Month Till National Signing Day a Gopher Recruiting Primer

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

About a month to go before National Signing Day and I thought this would be a good primer to let you briefly know who is committed, who is wavering and who the staff is still pursuing.

I feel like things are going really well with recruiting right now and I have good feelings that we are going sign a few more guys before NSD who are all going to be difference makers at the U.  This is going to be a class that is rated a bit higher within the conference after being rated last the past couple years.  Rankings are meaningless (unless you are ranked high, then the absolutely matter), but there are some very talented kids in this class and several who will be difference makers for the U.

The Firm Commits (12)

  • LB - Cody Poock - JUCO out of Iowa and he is signed his letter of intent.
  • ATH - Jerry Gibson - TE, maybe DE eventually.  6-3 kid out of Alabama who ranks as one of the top 50 kids in the state.
  • ATH - Dimonic McKinzy - Coming in to play QB from Kansas City.
  • OC - Connor Mayes - started at center in the US Army All-American game, brother to Alex Mayes
  • OT - Luke Rasmussen - project offensive tackle out of Wisconsin
  • TE - Gaelin Elmore - huge kid (6-6) and Wisconsin native who has been actively recruiting other kids to Minnesota
  • TE - Brandon Lingen - Wayzata kid
  • DE - Julien Kafo - Canadian product
  • DE - Andrew Stetler - Owatonna native, may eventually move to DT
  • DT - Steven Richardson - Chicago area product lacking height but was productive in high school
  • LB - Everett Williams - 2-star linebacker out of Texas, good athlete
  • S - Khari Blasingame - another Alabama kid, ranks as 27th best player in state according to here.

Below the names above, this is where the battle lies.  Jeff Jones is "committed" but that could change after any of his three likely visits to other schools.  Then we have kids visiting us and a handful of kids who have already visited and not yet made up their minds.

Softer Commitments (1)

  • RB - Jeff Jones - this has been talked about a lot lately.  His recruitment has exploded and Jones is taking official visits to Florida (Jan 24) and Michigan (Jan 31) with potentially Alabama trying to sneak in to get his 5th official on Jan 17th.  Jones committed to Coach Kill last February.  On 1/10, Florida flipped a 4-star RB from Miami which should alleviate some of the angst for Gopher fans.

Upcoming Key Visitors - I cherry-picked visitors that should be of significant note.  Others are also visiting but many of these will be offered preferred walk-on status or will be plan-B guys should recruits higher on the list decided to go elsewhere.  The names listed below are guys I believe the staff would take immediately if the kid wanted to commit.  Remember, we have limited scholarships available in this class.

January 17th

  • WR - Melvin Holland Jr - Virginia kid who has been incredibly productive as a senior.  Holland is big, has good speed and was a big play-maker this past season.  Wisconsin is making a late push to get a visit.  We will be taking two receivers in this class and in my opinion Holland should be at the top of our list.  Holland is likely to make his decision on National Signing Day.
  • QB - Jacques Perra - Roseville quarterback who is likely going to be offered preferred walk-on (PWO) status.  Perra has an offer from South Dakota and was very productive during his senior year.  I wanted to highlight Perra as he was the Star Tribune football player of the year and was also a Mr. Football finalist (which ended up going to Jeff Jones).
  • CB/WR - Kelvin Cook - 2-star kid from Cincinnati.  Currently does not have a Gopher offer and likely a plan B option for the Gophers.

January 24th

  • WR - Brayden Lenius - Canadian who transferred to California to play football.  Lenius is a big kid with tons of talent who as a junior had trouble catching the ball.  Those dropsies seemed to go away his senior year and he was very productive.  Also has a visit planned to Washington St (Jan 17), offer from Miami (visit possibly pending) and an offer from Utah as well.
  • WR - Isaiah Gentry - committed to Kent State, this 6-4 receiver is coming to visit.  The staff has not yet offered Gentry but one is expected assuming things go well on the visit.
  • CB - Patrick Porter - Alabama native and a lengthy corner.  Staff is still looking for 2 more DBs.  Porter is visiting Washing State on 1/17, Minnesota the 24th and Toledo on the 31st.  Committed to Washington State on 1/10, unsure if he'll still visit Minnesota.
  • LB - Tegray Scales - Ohio linebacker likely deciding between Minnesota and Indiana.  He visits the Hoosiers on the 17th. Also has reported offers from Illinois, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Louisville and others (likely not all "committable" offers).  Likely #1 remaining LB on the Gopher's board.
  • LB - Josh Black - Tampa linebacker with offers from Arizona (visited 12/13), Iowa St and a host of mid-major level schools.
  • CB - Christian Campbell - 2-star corner from Alabama

January 31st

  • nobody of significant consequence at this point.

Previous Visitors Still Undecided - these are the guys we are still heavily pursuing, the names to watch between now and NSD.

  • OT -  Frank Ragnow - Chanhassen kid who is apparently deciding between Florida State and Minnesota.  What may play in the the Gopher's favor is that FSU is getting pretty close to a full class (if they aren't already), particularly at OT.  We would be thrilled to land Ragnow, even if he comes to us by default.
  • CB - Craig James - 5-11 corner with very good speed and athletic ability.  I would very much like to see James as one of the two corners I expect we'll sign next month.  His decision was apparently down to Minnesota and Indiana; who just accepted a CB commit this week.  Could this mean that James will be Golden?
  • CB - Martavius Mims - 6-2 corner from Alabama.  Mimis is taking a visit to Western Kentucky on the 17th and should be making his decision soon thereafter.
  • RB - Rodney Smith - Georgia native who rushed for over 2,200 yards as a senior.  Visiting ECU the 17th followed by a visit from Coach Kill.  Very productive back in high school who was injured as a junior which likely affected his recruiting.

Here is who I think (hope) we land to finish off the class...

RB - Jeff Jones and Rodney Smith.  Back up plan would be Deron Thompson or Greg Howell

WR - Melvin Holland Jr and either Isaiah Gentry or Brayden Lenius.  Maybe all three

OT - Frank Ragnow

LB - Tegray Scales or Josh Black, in that order.

CB - Craig James and Martavius Mims

Scales and James are both considering Minnesota or Indiana, I would love to get both of them.

If I could only pick three it would be Ragnow, Holland and James (assuming Jeff Jones sticks with Minnesota).