A second member of the celebrated Woodbury (MN) East Ridge HS trio has scheduled an announcement date. 2016 defensive tackle JoJo Garcia, a consensus high 3 star prospect, will make his college destination known next Wednesday, and virtually all signs are pointing toward the physical and energetic d-linemen picking the homestate Gophers. He would be the first Minnesota commitment for the 2016 cycle and a great way to jump-start recruiting efforts for the remaining in-state prospects (aside from teammate and future Oregon Duck Seth Green).
What kind of impact would Garcia make on the 2016 class? A big one. Historically the Gophers have not had much luck keeping high end defensive line prospects at home, and considering athletic defensive tackles are among the most coveted recruits every single year, not having to leave the state's borders to lock one up is a bonus. Garcia would also be the first pledge from relatively new football powerhouse East Ridge high, quickly becoming the Wayzata of the east metro suburbs.
What kind of a prospect is JoJo? A physical defensive tackle with a wrestling background and strong motor. More of a strength and effort guy than quick twitch athletic freak, Garcia would make a fine addition to the defensive tackle rotation already featuring 3 true freshmen earning major playing time this season.
Coach Kill spent his off week
recovering from losing to Tim Beckman out on the trail along with several of his assistants, and they wasted no time handing out a few new offers to some 'croots. That's standard fare, though what's interesting about the new targets is where and what position.
First up was an offer to current Washington Huskie commit and high 3 star wide receiver prospect Isaiah Renfro. Hailing from the Los Angeles area, Renfro is a fast wideout who has also been in communication with Michigan State. Now, I don't suspect the Gophers have much of a shot here but targeting a speedster with natural receiving ability is a departure from what this staff normally looks for at wideout (big bodied playmakers who will block). This will be an interesting dynamic to watch over the next few years to see if the staff goes all in on sprinkling a few dynamic, more traditional receivers who can run underneath play-action passes versus what they've done to date.
Next was a familiar stop in the current cycle: North Gwinnett (GA) tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe. A member of the EL SID unpronounceable name club and more of a big bodied receiver than a true tight end at this point, Daniel is a former Missouri commitment with ridiculous hands and catching ability. Again, the chances for Minnesota aren't all that great (he's already taken visits to Ohio State and Florida) but Coach Sherels has been the most aggressive recruiter on the staff in just his first year as a position coach. That's refreshing to see, since youth and energy go a long way in the recruiting game when it comes to building relationships with prospects. Rather than take it slow and ease in, Sherels has been hands on in taking over the Georgia recruiting territory, targeting current commit Almonzo Brown, defensive end Anree Saint-Armour and Imatorbhebhe from North Gwinnett alone. Of note, Imatorbhebhe has a younger brother in the 2016 class who just happens to be a four star receiver.
Minnesota has 16 commitments right now for a class that end up in the 20-23 range after early graduations and attrition comes into play. That leaves between 4-7 additional spots for recruits from now until signing day, to which I generally suspect things are slotted like so:
- JUCO defensive back (need)
- Another safety (need)
- Pass rushing DE (need)
- Wide Receiver (sort of need)
Everything else will depend be some combination of landing impact players regardless of spot or adding depth to areas that could use it (namely defensive line). Now is about the time of the year we start hearing about late rising prospects boosting their stock with great senior years, so that'll be something to watch in the upcoming month or so. Remember, Melvin Holland was identified late into his senior season a year ago and came in on official visit in January; don't be surprised to see new names pop up in the upcoming weeks.
Another thing to keep in mind is, for whatever reason, this staff has landed more prospects that visit in December/January compared to in the season. I have a number of suspicions as to why that is, but that's for another time.
OFFICIAL VISIT LEDGER
I'll go into more detail about the players coming into town next weekend but for information's sake, here's a tentative list:
- Shelton Johnson, DE - Delray Beach (FL) - High priority
- McKinley Whitfield, OLB - Spiro (OK)
- Jonathan Femi-Cole, RB - Ontario (Can.) - Commit
- Colton Beebe, FB - Piper (KS)
I'd expect the number of visitors to grow over the next two weekends.