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Minnesota Gopher Football recruiting needs heading into the 2020 recruiting cycle

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How many scholarships and what position areas of focus can we expect in the 2020 class?

P.J. Fleck opening a gift from Goldy Gophersports.com

The 2019 Recruiting class is in the books

Back to back classes of bringing in 24 or 25 kids and as the roster sits today the team is well over the 85 scholarship limit, meaning several guys currently on the roster will not be once they begin practices in August. Also part of the equation is that there are only 12 scholarship seniors (and 14 juniors for that matter). At some point bringing in classes as large as the 2018 and 2019 classes won’t be an option.

It would be very likely that this incoming class will be comprised of less than 20 kids, maybe closer to 15. Attrition is inevitable, but I would be shocked if the class is much bigger than 16-18 kids.

Let’s go position by position to see where the Gopher’s biggest needs are going to be in this 2020 recruiting class.

Quarterback

  • SR/JR - 0
  • SO/FR - 4

This position is one where the staff will very likely bring in someone with ever recruiting cycle. And the absolutely should. Transfers happen, injuries happen and maybe you bring in that 3-star who nobody is particularly excited about and he turns out to be the greatest quarterback in the program’s history.

With all that said, they do currently have 4 underclassmen on scholarship currently. I fully expect that they will only bring in 1 quarterback in this class. Also seems unlikely that it will be a highly rated quarterback unless that kid is excited about redshirting.

2020 Targets - 1

Running Back

  • SR/JR - 2
  • SO/FR - 6

This distribution of running backs has two seniors, both coming off significant injuries and then a boatload of young running backs. Bryce Williams and Mo Ibrahim got quite a bit of experience last year in the absense of Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks. The other four backs have combined for zero carries.

What does that mean for recruiting? I would bet that the staff goes for a home run at running back. Assuming Smith and Brooks get most of the carries next season, the pitch to a 4 or 5-star running back that he could come in and be that feature back might be a strong one. But considering they signed 3 RBs in this last class, I expect RB will be light in this cycle.

2020 Targets - 1

Tight End

  • SR/JR - 2
  • SO/FR - 4

With 3 redshirt sophomores and redshirt freshman, Brevyn Span-Ford, I think that this is another position group that will likely not see a ton of attention. One graduates, probably one will replace him in the 2020 recruiting class.

2020 Targets - 1

Wide Receiver

  • SR/JR - 2
  • SO/FR - 9 (including Randal Grimes who is sitting this year out and will have 2 years to play)

There are 11 underclassmen receivers on this roster! This unit has gone from undermanned to overstaffed rather quickly. Tyler Johnson graduates and Seth Green is the only junior, so there really isn’t much urgency to stash multiple receivers in this 2020 class.

With that said...this staff loves receivers. One is already verbally committed, I’m certain they’ll sign one more and then make a push to get a high-end talent late in the cycle. It’s what they do.

2020 Targets - 2

Offensive Line

  • SR/JR - 4
  • SO/FR - 9

This was a huge priority in the 2018 class and then only one was signed in 2019. There are zero seniors on the roster along the offensive line, but I suspect that the staff will go after 2 or 3 in this class so that there is not a two year gap in talent along the line. With only one scholarship given this last year, they cannot have a 2-year gap with so few linemen.

2020 Targets - 2-3

Defensive Line

  • SR/JR - 6
  • SO/FR - 13

For the moment, I am including Carter Couglin in this group. He may very well end up moving back to OLB on a more permanent basis. But regardless, the defensive line is beginning to finally have some quality and depth to it.

Only 1 junior on the roster with 5 guys graduating after this season. I anticipate this position group will be a priority. I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see 3 defensive ends brought in and 1 or 2 tackles in this class. One end has already committed, look for a couple more.

2020 Targets - 4

Linebacker

  • SR/JR - 3
  • SO/FR - 7

The real breakdown here is that we next year we will have very few MLBs on the roster and a bevy of guys who can play on the outside. James Gordon and Donald Willis are coming in expected to play OLB, perhaps Gordon develops into more of a middle kinda guy. But finding a couple guys to fill in behind Sori-Marin and Schoenfelder should be important.

2020 Targets - 2-3

Corner

  • SR/JR - 6
  • SO/FR - 4

There is 1 senior corner, 5 juniors and then only 4 underclassmen. This would be the perfect year to bring in several new corners who would have a year to develop before we graduate 5 guys. I would argue that most of the talent on the current roster lies with the younger guys. My prediction is that we bring in a coveted 4-star corner in this class.

2020 Targets - 3

Safety

  • SR/JR - 1
  • SO/FR - 4

Plenty of sophomores in this group but no incoming freshmen. Without a safety or two in this class there would be a 2-year gap, that can’t happen (this is not taking into account possible position changes).

Two safeties in this class would be great.

2020 Targets - 2

Overview

Add that up all of those projected signees and you have 20 kids coming in as part of the 2020 class, that’s probably 2 too many (give or take). Here would be my priorities for this class..

  • Corner
  • Defensive End
  • Offensive Line
  • Safety

After that give me one super-stud at each of the offensive skill positions, is that so much to ask?