How was your Thursday? Oh not bad, just beat out both participants from the National Championship game for a stud linebacker. You?
I am very excited to announce my commitment to the University of Minnesota! God is so good! Building and Empire #BrickByBrick〽️
— Carter Coughlin † (@Cmoe34) March 12, 2015
M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A, Minnesota, Minnesota, Go Gophers! #StatePride
— John Schaekel (@Shakes_GopherFB) March 12, 2015
Mike Sherels (@MikeSherels) March 12, 2015
Absolutely awesome day for the Gophers!!!— Jay Sawvel (@JaySawvel) March 12, 2015
Eden Prairie (MN) HS junior outside linebacker Carter Coughlin verbally committed to Minnesota today in front of team at spring practice, becoming the second member of the Gopher 2016 recruiting class. Carter is a 4 star prospect according to 247Sports' Industry Composite and the #1 prospect in the state, choosing Minnesota over Ohio State and Oregon, along with listed offers from Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa and Pitt. 247 rates Coughlin as the 22nd ranked outside linebacker overall. The son of former Gopher Bob Coughlin and grandson of former Minnesota athletic director Tom Moe, Carter is the highest rated defensive prospect to commit to Minnesota under Jerry Kill and just the second four star prospect of the Kill era (Jeff Jones being the other).
Carter with 247Sports' Kyle Goblirsh on commitment and connection to the team ($):
"I got super close with the players, got to know them really well," Coughlin told 247Sports. "The coaches were really personable. They showed me how it is. Basically they rolled out the red carpet."
(Likely Fraudulent) Measurables**
** The section title is a bit. It's intentionally facetious comment on how recruiting sites (and even some college coaches) notoriously exaggerate traditional combine measures -- especially the 40. No offense is meant.
Weight: 200-205 lbs.
Fake 40 Time: 4.49s
Comparisons, to a football player? Coughlin is more of a coiled venomous snake than a linebacker.
Seriously, Simoni Lawrence and Keanon Cooper had the speed but neither had Carter's length, height or frame. De'Vondre Campbell has the length and frame but Coughlin has the instincts and better raw speed. There's a reason why Oregon and Ohio State wanted him.
2016 Minnesota Commitments
2016 Minnesota Commitments
The Gophers recruit length and speed. Carter has length and speed. He also has the instincts, tackling ability and athleticism you'd want from an outside backer. Additionally, Tracy Claeys loves to put taller linebackers on the weakside of formations in order to disrupt passing lanes, something Campbell does fairly well and a role Coughlin could step into when the senior graduates.
Another tool Carter brings is an ability to rush the pocket from the edge or shoots gaps to break up plays in the backfield. Really, Coughlin has everything you'd want in an every down linebacker with the capability of doing just about anything you'd ask from an outside 'backer, including but not limited to defending running backs in the flat or tight ends.
Impact on Other Prospects?
Just like when JoJo Garcia committed...
Garcia won't open the 2016 floodgates all by himself, though it's nice when a foregone conclusion like his pledge is finally verbalized so other talented players - like Eden Prairie's Carter Coughlin - can envision themselves playing together. Barring a complete change in strategy, one in which Kill embraces the expedited recruiting timelines rather than continuing his notoriously measured pace, I don't suspect a rush of '16 in-state prospects to hop on board just yet.
However, with arguably the second best in-state prospect of the class already wrapped up, Kill could turn to JoJo and have him put on a recruiting cap of his own. I'd expect a few more in-state names to pop by the spring, ramping up all the way to camp season in which several more players could earn themselves offers. The highly acclaimed 2016 crop is right around the corner, and Kill has already secured on of its biggest prizes.
Kill already has the #1 and #2 in-state prospects for the 2016 class wrapped up, and we're not even halfway through Spring Practice yet. Thomas Barber could and probably will join the party sooner than later, giving Coach Sherels yet another legacy linebacker to mold with the upcoming class. Now that Seth Green and Kjetil Cline have officially transferred out of state, there's a real possibility that the Gophers could land the majority of the highly touted Minnesota 2016 crop -- a feat that would be even more impressive than the 2012 haul.
More importantly, you win football games with great players. CC and JoJo are indeed great high school players, with all the potential to transition that ability to the next level. This could be Kill's best and most impressive recruiting class to date, especially now that two of the biggest prizes have already been secured.