After close to a year an a half of severe restrictions on recruiting, the regular old recruiting cycle is starting to return. The NCAA finally ended the recruiting dead period as of June 1. This means that June is full of football camps, recruiting visits and verbal commitments.
The camps have already begun and the Gopher staff has been very busy. But this weekend (and the following one) are rather important to the program as they are hosting a number of official visitors on campus. This was not something allowed throughout the last year and kids from out of state were committing to the Gophers without ever having stepped foot on campus.
Now we get kids back on campus and the first big crew of visitors is happening this weekend. This should be really exciting news for Gopher fans. Kids are on campus and you can bet that there will be kids committing over the next couple weeks.
Before we can get to the list of incoming visitors, how about a quick primer on who is currently committed and what do the needs look like for this class of 2022.
QB - Jacob Knuth (Commitment Post) - South Dakota kid who is a rising 3-star quarterback. Physically gifted with a strong arm and good speed for the position. Offers from Iowa and Kansas State, but committed to rowing the boat. Knuth was here for a camp on June 1 and will be back next weekend for his official visit.
WR - Kristen Hoskins (Commitment Post) - Alexandria receiver who is very dangerous in space. I think that Gopher fans are going to really like Hoskins down the road.
TE - Spencer Alvarez (Commitment Post) - The most recent commitment. Alvarez is an in-state recruit who was injured last year so does not have a lot of recruiting buzz, but the Gopher staff is very high on Alvarez.
OT - Tony Nelson (Commitment Post) - Another in-state kid who is coming to the U from the tiny town of Tracy (just outside of Marshall). Raw and facing a pretty level of competition; Nelson is coming to the U for his athleticism and upside.
DE - Trey Bixby (Commitment Post) - This is the most exciting commitment to date, as the highest DE commitment since Carter Coughlin. Bixby is a 4-star stud.
S Coleman Bryson (Commitment Post) - A Georgia defensive back who had quite a few Power 5 offers. Bryson may end up as OLB, but currently projected to be a run-supporting safety.
Those are the 6 current commits. Those verbals are always subject to change, but many of them seem very likely to stick through till national signing day.
Looking at the current roster there are likely 16 available scholarships when you factor those scholarships that will be expiring after next season. That number is always fluid due to transfers and/or medical issues. But 16 is really the minimum number of kids you can expect to see in this 2022 class.
As we look at the current roster and position groups, there are a couple that stick out as bigger needs than others.
QB (1) - Not really a huge priority, With Jacob Clark, Cole Kramer and Athan Kaliakmanis all currently sophomores or younger. Adding Knuth in this class should indicate that there will not be any more quarterbacks signed in this class.
RB (1) - Mohammed Ibrahim is clearly a stud and nearing the end of his Gopher career, but this position group also has a number of young guys with 5 currently on the roster that are sophomores or younger. One will be added, but I doubt you’ll see 2 unless that second one is a really highly regarded by the staff.
17 3) - This staff loves to bring in receivers, so it is futile to guess how many they’ll bring in. One is already committed and I would expect 3 to be the number in this cycle.
TE (2) - One is committed, I think this position group may need a couple in the 2022 cycle.
OL (3) - The last couple classes have been fairly heavy on OL, which is great. I think interior line might be a slightly higher priority, but also where guys end up is usually something that easily changes once they arrive on campus.
DL (3) - Once again, this position has been heavily recruited over the last 2 years. I think shooting for higher end recruits, much like Bixby, in this clas.
LB (3) - Maybe more of a position of need than others. Cody Lindenberg played a lot as a true freshman, but the loss of Itayvion Brown from the 2020 class hurts the overall depth of the position. I expect you’ll see at least 3 linebackers in this 2022 class.
CB (2) - Adding two very good corners in the last class, makes this area only slightly less of a priority. Corner is just so valuable at the college level that you need to add a couple in every class.
Safety (2) - One added, there should be another. There should be no losses at safety for the 2022 defense, but getting a couple in who can grow into becoming contributors is important.
If you add those numbers up, that means 20 names will be added to this class. I doubt they’ll hit that number, but it will be close.
WHO IS COMING?
As previously stated this weekend (like right now) there are kids coming on to campus, taking their official visit.
- - WR - Kristen Hoskins - current WR commit mentioned above
- - OL - Tony Nelson - current WR commit mentioned above
- - S - Coleman Bryson - current WR commit mentioned above
- RB - Zach Evans - Texas running back, 3 stars who has quite a few P5 offers. Evans plays at the 6A level in Texas (the highest level), rushed for over 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns on a team that made it to the state quarterfinals before losing in OT to the eventual runner-up in Div II. This would be a great back to land in this class and call RB done.
- WR - Ike White - Baltimore area receiver who is visiting now and taking a look at West Virginia next weekend.
- OL - Deylin Hasert - we’ve had some luck with Marshall offensive linemen in the past. Iowa, Iowa State and Nebraska are also pursuing Hasert.
- DE/OLB - Jared Badie - from a distant SW suburb of Chicago, Badie has interest from Michigan State and Illinois as well. Would be a likely replacement for Thomas Rush, eventually.
- DE - Anthony Smith - a nice, athletic, strong-side DE from Pennsylvania. Ole Miss is also a strong contender here.
- LB - Isaiah Jones - out of Ohio and Jones has offers from Cincy, Indiana, Duke and a few MAC schools.
Maybe people aren’t going to get too excited about just 6 names visiting this weekend. But I do expect we will see a couple commitments from this group and the 2022 class is going to begin to take shape. Several more will be visiting next weekend, but we’ll save those names for a week.
Is anybody else excited about this recruiting class and the future of Gopher football?