With Minnesota’s 2015 recruiting class all signed, sealed and delivered, GopherDigest takes a look at our five takeaways from this year’s class.
1. Win In The Trenches
Many feel the game is won in the trenches and with Minnesota losing quite a few starters next year, the Gophers stock piled up on the offensive and defensive lines. Defensively, they are bringing two speed rushers in Mose Hall and Winston Delattiboudere. Both will need to add weight, but were very under the radar during their recruitments and will be nice additions to this defensive line. This offensive line group is one of the best in the Big Ten and all are from the Midwest expect for one in the massive Lone Star standout Tyler Moore. The other big uglies joining the Gophers are Quinn Oseland, Nick Connelly, Bronson Dovich and Ted Stieber. The size and strength is all there within each of them and definitely could be one incoming position group we remember a few years from now.
2. Reload The Running Back Stable
With David Cobb going onto the NFL, those career totals of 562 carries and 2,892 rushing yards with 20 touchdowns will be hard to replace, but Minnesota plans to be committee. The Gophers will have a three headed monster coming in North Dakota’s Gatorade Player of the Year James johannesson, Peach State talented tailback Shannon Brooks and hard-nosed Canadian bowling ball back in Jonathan Femi-Cole. That was a big land and a steal in this coaching staff’s opinion going across the boarder and securing one of Canada’s top prospects in Femi-Cole. Personally, I think this group will be very productive especially with the offensive linemen they brought in, but these tailbacks also fit this offense exceptionally well.
3. Michigan And Illinois Were Kind To The Gophers
The three most fertile recruiting states are Florida, California and Texas, but the Gophers did most of their damage around their neck of the woods in the Midwest especially Michigan and Illinois. Minnesota has a combine total of eight signees from the two respective states, which means that makes up 1/3 of their recruiting class. Coach Kill has pride his success on recruiting the home state, but also getting players from neighbor foes that they didn’t want that were in their backyard. For example, Southfield (MI.) cornerback Ray Buford, who was passed over by Michigan and Michigan State, but Minnesota watched him this past summer at the Sound Mind Sound Body Camp and evaluated him to eventually offer him and secure his services.
4. Length And Athleticism… Check
One of the main areas that the Gophers were looking to address in this recruiting class was become more bigger and athletic on the outside of their offense. The passing attack struggled all season long and their leading receiver was actually the tight end, who wasn’t a bad one though. Anyways, Minnesota went South to snag a couple of long and big playmaking wide outs in Lousiania wide receiver Hunter Register and Texas physical wide out Rashad Still. Both stand above 6-4 and really will add that deep threat to this offense. That other dimension in this offense will ease the pressure off the running attack and Gopher quarterback Mitch Leidner.
5. Bring Your Hard Hat And Lunchbox To Work
While Minnesota’s class sits 12th in the Big Ten and the No. 55 overall class in the nation, it is not one that has any real headliners like last year’s class, which featured the highly touted in-state running back phenom Jeff Jones. There is no one in this class that I see could make a huge immediate impact, but a group of blue-collar guys that will be eager to come early and stay late everyday. The toughness, determination and motivation is inside each of these kids and some even mentioned to me they feel underrated. They are not flashy and will not come in expecting to get that red carpet treatment, but will be ready and prepared to work from day one in order to sustain the level of success Coach Kill has built over the past few years.