(*Editor's note...What the heck does "Commitment to Eight" mean? It is our new recurring title for recruit commitments referencing a commitment to work towards the Gopher's Eighth National Championship. A little bit tongue in cheek, but why not right?)
The Gophers picked up their 9th commit of the 2017 class with Nebraska offensive lineman, Brett Kitrell. Likely coming into the program as a center, Kitrell becomes the 4th offensive lineman to join the class. Help along both lines was a priority with this 2017 class and with four solid commitments the staff may be looking to add only one more, if that.
Kitrell is a Nebraska kid and wanted to get his recruitment out of the way before his season started. He only had offers from smaller schools with interest from Nebraska, Stanford and others. The concern here is that Kitrell earns himself a scholarship from Nebraska sometime later in the year and then flips. That concern is valid and something to watch but for now he is a Golden Gopher and coming to play as a center for us. Part of the lack of offers is due to the fact that Kitrell played very little as a junior due to a knee injury.
Ryan Burns of GopherIllustrated ($cout).
I think probably the biggest factor in my decision to commit to Minnesota was I can see myself playing for coach Miller and their new physical style of offense at Minnesota," Kitrell explained to GI. "Miller has told me since they offered how much they like my physicality and explosiveness as an offensive lineman, and he can wait to use me at center. I feel great about playing center, and it works for me. My parents think it's the right fit for me at Minnesota, so they're excited as well. I'm now officially done with the recruiting process, and will no longer take any college visits except to Minnesota
From Kitrell's coach when interviewed by GopherIllustrated. Seems like an upstanding and quality young man has been added to the program.
Brett is the type of player/person that you never have to worry about because he is going to do the next right thing both on, and off, of the field as he is one of our biggest leaders on our team and in our school. He has a 4.0 and is involved in a lot of outside activities. He does great with being a role model for kids as well. He does this through many situations but most recently as a camp assistant for both the youth football and the youth track camp.
(Likely Fraudulent) Measurables**
** The section title is intentionally facetious regarding how recruiting sites (and even some college coaches) notoriously exaggerate traditional combine measures -- especially the 40. No offense is meant.
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 280 lbs.
Fake 40 Time: honeybadger don't care
Big 4 Ratings:
Junior year highlights:
In Two Words - if you have to remember just two things about this player...
- High Motor
Similar in size but more importantly similar in toughness is why I would compare Kitrell favorably to Tyler Moore. The current Gopher center came to the Gophers last Fall with about the same sized frame and a reputation for being a really tough and strong player. He quickly was put into the position to have to play as a true freshman and turned out to be a pretty good football player who projects to have a very good Gopher career. Hoping for similar results for Kitrell who will ideally have the benefit of redshirting.
The kid looks like he is very tough, seeking contact and not stopping till whistle is blown. Seemed to move really well in space and then would explode on his assigned defensive target. Defensively he has a knack for hitting hard and really exploding on kids without needing a whole lot of time or space to needed to wind up and hit.
He is coming to the program slotted as a center. Seems like it would be great timing with Tyler Moore being a junior for Kitrell's first season, giving Kitrell a year to redshirt then learn during Moore's senior season and potentially be a 3-year starter.
Impact on Other Prospects?
Well the interior of the line is filling up, may even be full at this point. Kendrick Green is a possibility still, but I think he's being looked at as a DT. The real tricky part here is that Kitrell may still end up flipping if/when he gets a Nebraska offer. His father played for the Huskers, his brother is a Husker and if he were to get an offer I think you'll see him commit to the Huskers. Really shouldn't come as a surprise if it does happen, which means the Gopher staff really should be continuing to recruit the interior OL. And if a player they think will help them comes along, I have no doubt they would take him (regardless of the status of Kitrell).