Add immediate depth and impact along the defensive line is nice. I like depth and impact. Depth and impact are good.
Ryan Burns (@RyanBurnsMN) July 22, 2015
When you hear great news that your position group just got better, you celebrate pic.twitter.com/i5vTwEXTdf— Jeffrey Phelps (@PhelpsDLCoach) July 22, 2015
Minnesota broke its long commitment dry spell in a big way last night as Blinn CC (TX) JUCO defensive end Tralund Webber made the call for the Maroon and Gold. The first JUCO target of the 2016 class, Webber is rated as a 3 star prospect according to the 247 Industry Composite, and the #1 overall JUCO weakside defensive end according to 247's own ratings. Tralund chose Minnesota over listed offers from Arizona State, Cincinnati, Iowa State, Kansas, and a handful from Group of 5 schools as well. He is the 12th prospect committed for the 2016 class, 6th defensive player, and 2nd defensive line prospect overall.
Webber explains his decision to Gopher247's Kyle Goblirsch ($):
"It feels good to know that I’ll be headed to a good school, who can help me academically and on the football field," the 6-foot-4, Juco Defensive End told Gopher247.
"I feel like, out of my offers, Minnesota was the best fit for me," Webber said on why he chose the Gophers. "When I took my visit, I didn’t have anything negative to say about Minnesota. It’s a great school and they have a great coaching staff, not to mention the great environment around campus and also the players."
(Likely Fraudulent) Measurables**
** The section title is a bit. It's an 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: 235-250 lbs.
Fake 40 Time: 4.64s
Big 4 Ratings:
Webber's JUCO highlights are set to private, which is a bummer. However, if you want to see footage of him catching passes back at Yoe High School in Cameron, Texas: have at it.
Absurd comparisons are impossible at the moment since Webber's film is a null set. In fact, the mere mention of an absurd comparison in the absence of film is patently absurd, so I feel like I've done my duty with this section today.
Here's some things we know about Webber. He was named Second Team All-State in the Texas 2A division after his high school squad, the Yoemen (what a GD sweet mascot name, by the way), won consecutive UIL 2A D1 state championships. Tralund finished his senior season with 69 tackles (nice), 7.5 sacks, 14 TFLs, 2 FFs, 22 QB hurries and 2 blocked kicks/punts. As a freshman at Blinn last year, he tallied 3.5 sacks, 3 FFs, 1 INT and 26 tackles in just 8 games. Webber also had a great spring, prompting several teams -including Minnesota- to offer.
We also know that Tralund was among the top targets, if not the highest guy on the board, for the Gopher defensive staff. They prioritized landing a pure pass rusher to step in for Theiren Cockran after this season, as depth at defensive end is surprisingly thin and young. Plus, as Ian Boyd pointed out over at FSH, Minnesota should really get more sack production out of their ends than what we've seen the last few years given the strength of the secondary. Webber will be challenged to fight for the starting role right away next Spring, and provide more time for youngsters like Julien Kafo, Winston DeLattiboudere, and Mose Hall to develop. The trio of Hank Ekpe, Gaelin Elmore, and Webber are likely to see heavy rotation in 2016.
Impact on Other Prospects?
A JUCO stopgap at DE was a must for this recruiting class, and Webber was arguably the staff's top target. Minnesota will look to snag another high school pass rusher at a minimum, and likely grab two along with another defensive tackle.