It is the bye week and that means the football staff has been traipsing the country recruiting.
The 2018 recruiting class is actually quite full. There are likely only a few spots open for commitments. So that means the staff is doing 3 things.
1 - Artfully and carefully pushing a few key targets to get on board sooner than later.
2 - Making sure they keep the kids who have already committed.
3 - Getting a head start on the 2019 class by showing some love to some key targets who are going to be pursued by many elite programs.
Here is a brief update of what has been happening this week and what is going on with both the 2018 and 2019 class.
2018 Remaining Targets
There are many more names than this on the 2018 target list. But with few spots remaining, it is unclear who are the top targets. There will probably be 2-3 more commits taken. One in the defensive backfield is VERY likely, you may see another running back taken and then possibly someone along the line (either defensive or offensive). JUCO targets may be in play as well along either line.
- Kendall Williamson was offered this past week. He is a 4-star corner out of Georgia who has offers from Vandy, Wake, NC State, Michigan State, Northwestern and Stanford...among others. So what makes him a potential future Gopher? Well, his brother is Chris Williamson, the Florida transfer who is sitting out this year because of transfer rules. Considering our lack of depth in the defensive backfield, I suspect he is near the top of the list for guys who they’d accept a commitment from with so few spots left open.
- Dallas Creddreith is a 6’1” safety out of Missouri and he has a number of Big Ten programs after him, along with Mizzou. As I said, after this week of evaluations and staff discussions, hopefully we will know about who they are prioritizing for the final few spots. Expect Creddreith to be one of those names.
2018 Current Targets
- First item worthy of discussion is the injury to Benny Sapp III. The Eden Prairie defensive back injured his knee, the same one that has had multiple ligament tears. No ligaments were torn but he has decided to shut down his season as a precaution.
- Friday, the entire coaching staff (at least as much allowed by NCAA rules) will mostly be out watching 2018 commits in their games.
- Cool story on Perham’s Logan Richter about the day when he committed to the Gophers.
- Rashod Bateman is currently leading the state of Georgia in receiving.
2019 Key Targets
This is the fun part of the update. There are a few 2019 targets who are going to be highly sought after, but there are reasons to believe that the Gophers will at the very least receive strong consideration.
According to Ryan Burns of GopherIllustrated.com, Fleck made it a priority to see the three non-Minnesota guys listed below. He saw all three on Monday covering California, Nebraska and Iowa. Based on those actions, these 5 names are pretty clearly important 2019 targets.
- Quinn Carroll is at the top of the list. He was on campus for the Middle Tennessee State game on an unofficial visit. He is one of the top 2019 offensive linemen in the country and the Gophers are doing everything they can to land him (and land him soon). It is widely believed that part of the pitch to Carroll is for him to commit early and be the flag bearer for the 2019 class where more elite players decide to row the boat.
- Hank Bachmeier is a 4-star quarterback out of California. He has offers from places like UCLA, Cal, Utah, Ole Miss, Colorado and others. So why Minnesota? Well first and foremost, it is due to PJ Fleck and the connection he is making with Bachmeier. It doesn’t hurt that he has family in the area who are fully in support of him coming to be a Gopher. Fleck was out to visit him this week and Bachmeier will be here on an unofficial for the Maryland game. He very well could be the first verbal commit of the 2019 class.
- Bryce Benhart is another elite offensive line recruit from the state of Minnesota. Benhart plays for Lakeville North and is a top 2019 recruit. The junior has offers from Wisconsin, Iowa State, Northwestern and UCLA already. He, along with Carroll, visited last week unofficially. I suspect he’ll be on campus often this Fall and would be a huge get for the Gophers.
- Nick Henrich is a Nebraska native and one of our top targets on the defensive side of the ball. Currently has offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska, Kentucky and other smaller schools. Inside linebacker from Omaha and he was in town for the big BBQ in July.
- Last, but not least, is Max Duggan, another quarterback. Duggan lives in Council Bluffs, Iowa and is one of the top QB prospects in the country. Nebraska, Georgia, Iowa, Iowa State, Ole Miss, K State, Northwestern, Penn State and others make his offer list rather impressive. But Fleck was out to watch him quickly and landing a top notch, program-changing quarterback is clearly a priority. If anyone can steal a great QB from a higher profile program, it will be Fleck.
Landing 2 or 3 of the names above would be huge for the program and what Fleck is trying to build. I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see Benhart and Bachmeier commit and commit relatively early.
There you have a brief update of what’s going on with recruiting. It is not intended to be comprehensive, but to give you a few key names to keep an eye on. More to come when there is more concrete to share. Enjoy your weekend off from Gopher football.