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Minnesota Football Recruiting: Drew Hmielewski Commits

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Guess what? Jerry Kill just added his 9th in-state commitment for 2016, that's what. Yes, nine. From Minnesota.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

You know things are good when Glasscock goes full Ric Flair.

The coaches are banking on his athleticism and strong bloodlines to eventually develop into a well-rounded X receiver


Marshall (MN) wide receiver Drew Hmielewski publicly announced his intention to play for Jerry Kill on Twitter last evening, becoming the 9th member of what is now commonly referred to as the "Empire Class" of in-state prospects for 2016. A three sport star for Marshall, Drew is rated a 3 star prospect according the the 247 Industry Composite. Hmielewski comes from an athletic family with a background in major D1 sports, and chose the Gophers over a number of different offers at the FCS level. Drew is the 15th commitment for the 2016 class, and the 3rd projected wide receiver.

Quotables

Evaluation of Drew from his high school coach, via GopherDigest's Ryan Burns ($):

"Drew is a 3 sport athlete and very passionate about all 3 sports-football, basketball and baseball," Bahlmann said about new Gophers wide receiver commit Drew Hmielewski. "He is an excellent student and also a great role mode and citizen and is an excellent example for our younger players both on and off the field. He comes from a very athletic family as he Dad played baseball at Kansas State and Minor League baseball up to AA, His Mother played basketball at Kansas State. ... Drew is a very explosive athlete. He ran a 4.5 40 yard dash, 10"4 standing long jump and has a vertical right around 40 inches. As a 3 sport athlete he has never had the opportunity to just concentrate on football, so his upside is huge."

The impact of Hmielewski's pledge and his decision on football vs. baseball, from Gopher247's Kyle Goblirsch($):

"The coaches wanted to make sure football was what I wanted to play before officially offering."

When all was said and done, Hmielewski says he and his family felt playing football for Coach Kill and his staff at Minnesota was the best fit and it was time to pull the trigger.

"The people I met and the relationships I made while visiting the U played a big part in my decision! I can't say enough about the coaching staff! They've been truly amazing! Playing in state makes it easier for my friends and more importantly my family to come and watch me," Drew replied regarding what sold him on the Gophers."

With the question concerning his desire to focus on football, Drew said he still hopes to keep his glove close by if possible. "I plan to try and do both if I can."

(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.

Height: 6'1"-6'3"
Weight: 190 lbs.
Fake 40 Time: 4.48-4.58s

Big 4 Ratings:

Site Stars Rating Position Rank
247 Composite 3 .8667 86
247 4 90 50
Rivals N/A N/A N/A
Scout 3 N/A N/A
ESPN N/A N/A N/A

Highlights

Junior year via HUDL:

Thoughts

Absurd Comparisons

Out-state receiver?

Multi-sport athlete, particularly baseball?

Good height, speed, and athletically dominant at the high school level?

Oh yeah, I think we can absurdly compare to him to our old pal Eric Decker. Come at me bro.

Scheme Fit

Hmielewski is a raw but explosive athlete with strong hangs and good body control. The coaches are banking on his athleticism and strong bloodlines to eventually develop into a well-rounded X receiver with the height and speed to get by defenders but enough route savvy to get open consistently. At the moment, his route tree is raw (film is limited to primarily flys and tunnel screens) and his release needs some work. He does get upfield quickly, and his hands and catching radius are very good. There's a lot of upside here once he dedicates himself to one sport and refines his technique, especially route running. He also displays a little stiffness in his routes, as he's not very fluid in his cuts; Coach Klein's strength program with an emphasis on low body and hip flexibility should address any limitations there.

Impact on Other Prospects?

After Snelson committed, we were all like:

I don't expect Minnesota to stop recruiting receivers. In fact, they were likely going to take another WR anyway, and have a number of targets who could make up their mind by early fall in J.D. Spielman, Bailey Edwards or Drew Hmielewski (if Minnesota offers).

Hmielewski's pledge may have a direct consequence: there may not be room in the class for J.D. Spielman. Whether Drew's offer was a response to the coaches sensing Spielman was leaning towards Nebraska, or if they simply preferred to grab a taller wideout for the final spot versus yet another slot guy is up for debate. We know that Hmielewski camped the same day with Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman, and while the latter may have received an offer that day, Drew's performance was as good if not slightly more impressive according to the whispers. The delay to offer was due diligence on the staff's part, as they needed to investigate potential injury concerns and/or Drew's desire to play baseball in college (which he's going to do).

Would the Gophers take four receivers in the 2016 class? I just don't see it happening. The Gophers have 7 underclassmen scholarship receivers, another 3 committed for 2016, and a couple walk-ons who're making some moves in fall camp. If Spielman wanted to commit, would the staff find a spot for him? Assuredly, but now we're talking about potentially 3 players in one class all penciled in for the same role (slot WR) on a team that doesn't pass the ball more than 20-25 times a game. You could move one of them to corner, but that takes away from one potential problem and adds to another: doing so would mean the secondary has 3 shortish CBs in the last two classes, and Claeys/Sawvel value length and tackling ability at CB. Signing a prospect to play in the return game is also a waste.

Snelson has yet to visit campus and until he does, his pledge can still be perceived with reservation. The staff will keep the phone lines open with Bailey Edwards, who plans to wait a while before making any decision.