Four-star offensive lineman Sean Foster has decommitted from Minnesota after speaking with the coaching staff. This comes days after head coach Tracy Claeys did not retain offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Matt Limegrover and quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski. Three-star quarterback recruit Tony Poljan also decommitted on Sunday in the wake of the firings. Here are Tweets from both Foster and Poljan.
Thank you to the state of Minnesota for everything you have done for our whole family. pic.twitter.com/GcCz6fq3qb— Sean Foster (@foster__75) December 1, 2015
Due to the ever changing leadership at Minnesota I need to look around. pic.twitter.com/YsvjJHaFSN— Tony Poljan ♠ (@TPoljan_1) November 30, 2015
What was once a Top 30 recruiting class has now plummeted into the 40's, and with the loss of a four-star recruit, will likely slide into the 50's or 60's. This was one of the concerns when Limegrover and Zebrowski were let go, and the idea that retaining Claeys would help preserve this recruiting class appears tenuous at best, as this is now the fourth decommitment since his hire. Junior college three-star defensive end Tralund Webber flipped to Oklahoma State a few weeks ago, and two-star Florida linebacker Andre Polk switched to South Florida last month also. In-state defensive tackle JoJo Garcia also decommitted back when Kill first announced his retirement, but in a strange twist Garcia also appears to have "hung up his cleats" and forgone his football career.
But there have been insinuations that the decommitments of Poljan and Foster were both somewhat mutual. Poljan received an offer from Nebraska the day after his decommitment, but as a tight end, not a quarterback. Foster also mentions that his decommitment followed a conversation with the coaching staff, suggesting their may have been a parting of ways. This tidbit came courtesy of Darren Wolfson this morning:
Will say just got a text & told Foster's decommitment is "mutual." From afar, I just see a big-time talent lost. Will dig further. #gophers— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) December 1, 2015
(con.) What the person is alluding to is the O-Line philosophies are about to change a lot. That Foster isn't a good fit. I still pause.— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) December 1, 2015
But with that said, it is hard not to be concerned about the loss of a four-star offensive lineman. It's not like the Gophers have had a steady stream of blue chip offensive linemen, although the mixed results on the field might suggest that the previous regime's evaluation of offensive linemen has been suspect. But with Claeys willing to wait until January to replace Limegrover and Zebrowski, that leaves a month for opposing coaches to take advantage of the uncertainty in the offensive coaching staff. Foster was also one of the more vocal members of the Empire Class, and it is disappointing to lose someone who was clearly so passionate about playing for Minnesota.
At a certain point though, fans will need to trust that Claeys and crew know what they're doing. There are two months left until Signing Day and this recruiting class is far from complete. One recruit, in particular, does not appear to be all that concerned:
Gopher fans y'all gotta trust the system and trust Claeys. He's making some big decisions, but they are what's best for the program.— Carter Coughlin † (@Cmoe34) December 1, 2015
The next few months should very interesting for Gopher fans.