Minnesota went nearly the entire 2014 recruiting cycle without landing a single wide receiver commitment, despite a glaring hole that existed at the position before Andre McDonald and Jamel Harbison transferred. Understandably, fans got a little nervous: when nearly all of your returning production at receiver came from a duo of true freshmen, depth issues don't just pop but scream for reinforcements.
With such a big need at receiver, the staff needed a big time playmaker out wide to join the program. As luck would have it, they managed to snag arguably the top guy on their board.
I feel so blessed ! 🙏 #ThankYouLord— ⚡ImaShowEm⚡ (@MelloYllw21) January 28, 2014
Ashburn (VA) Briar Woods HS receiver Melvin Holland, Jr. committed to Minnesota tonight, becoming the 15th member of the Gophers' 2014 recruiting class. After exploding on to the scene with a great senior year, Holland quickly grabbed the attention of the Gopher staff and became not just their primary target at wideout but one of the more coveted players remaining on the board. Making matters even more impressive was this was Holland's first year as a starting receiver, spending the previous two years as a starting linebacker and only making the switch during his senior campaign to fill a team need.
Rodnet is rated as a high 3 star prospect according to 247Sports' Industry Composite, picking the Gophers over his listed offers from Wisconsin, Rutgers, Boston College, Wake Forest, Navy, Toledo and others. In terms of impact, Melvin is the 3rd highest rated prospect in the 2014 class according to 247 and one of the highest rated prospects of the Kill era.
Gopher247's Kyle Goblirsch with a quick commitment piece ($):
"Minnesota will be tough to beat. ... The coaches were crazy. They’ve been together for like 15-20 years. They all have that group feel and family feel to each other."
Recruiting article from the Washington Post:
"Minnesota is a great place and has a lot of great facilities that they’ve done improvements on," Holland said. "They’re building the program and it’s in Top 25 football land."
ESPNU Evaluation ($):
Sneaky. He has a strong stride and is more explosive into and out of breaks than you might think. Uses his frame, long arms and strength to muscle through tight quarters and nudge himself clear. He is a bit of a bull in a china shop and will get defenders to back off of him with his off the line surge and stature. He's not a sudden, cat-like player, but given his size he does have very good agility.
(Likely Fraudulent) Measurables
Weight: 195-200 lbs.
Fake 40 Time: 4.47-4.52s
Senior year, via Hudl.
What a big commitment for the Gophers. Holland is exactly what the team needs: a tall, big framed playmaker at receiver. That he comes from a very strong family and is undoubtedly a team player (see the previously linked article about only shifting to WR full time based upon graduation and contributing to the squad as a starting linebacker instead) is just icing. Holland looks and feels like a program-centric Kill type recruit, who also happens to be a heavily pursued prospect. A significant recruiting win for Kill.
A skill set add, Holland has deceptive top end speed and quickness for a taller receiver, forcing defenders to respect his vertical routes as he can not only get separation for the deeper routes but can win one-on-one battles with his strong hands and leaping ability. It's that threat of the big play that makes the other part of his game so effective: sharp route running and quickness out of his cuts. Holland excels at gaining separation on whip and hitch routes, which combined with his excellent burst off the line allows him to beat both zone coverage underneath and man coverage downfield.
Melvin will join a receiving corps that already boasts a pair of tall and freshmen athletic receivers, moving forward with a trend of recruiting wideouts with bigger frames to not only block in the run game but physically match up against strong Big Ten corners. This is also yet another signal that the offense will utilize the play action passing game heavily, since Holland is a receiver that you can run double moves and longer developing routes to attack vertically.