GopherDigest answers your questions in this week's recruiting mailbag...
What position can staff not afford to miss? That is where is help needed most?
The staff can't afford to miss on the defensive line, and more specifically at defensive end.
With Theiren Cockran and Alex Keith graduating after this next season, Minnesota is going to be young and inexperienced heading into the 2016 season as they'll have only Hendrick Ekpe and Gaelin Elmore for seasoned players. Guys like Julian Kafo and true freshman Winston Delattiboudere are going to need to be ready soon. That's why you've seen such a heavy spring of JUCO defensive end offers to guys like Tralund Webber (takes an official visit to Minnesota this weekend), Joe Henderson and Tramal Ivy as the staff knows they need guys who can play right away and have an impact at a Big Ten level.
That being said, a majority of the defensive ends for this class will be high school recruits so ones that I have my eye on are Terrance Corbett, Gary Overshown, Terrell Lucas and potentially even Joshua Uche as well. I think one or two of Minnesota's eventual defensive end class haven't been offered yet, so it'll be interesting to see how things unfold this fall.
Any chance Dimonic McKinzy is a bounce back guy to Minnesota?
I highly doubt it.
McKinzy signed with the Gopher in 2014 to be their quarterback for the future, but after only one year in the program, he transferred out presumably as he saw that he wouldn't be playing any time soon. McKinzy is now at Hutchinson community college in Kansas playing quarterback hoping for another shot at a different school, so I have a hard time believing he'd want to come back to a place he just left. Another potential bounce back guy would be 2014 late signee Rashaun Croney, whose now at Ellsworth community college in Iowa. Sources have told GopherDigest that it's unlikely at this point that Croney comes to Minnesota as he still has some work to do academically down in Iowa and the Gophers probably won't go JUCO in this 2016 class. Nothing is set in stone, but it's unlikely either McKinzy or Croney are Gophers again.
What are our chances with Tobias Gillium?
As GopherDigest wrote yesterday, there's a chance here.
We spoke with a source yesterday and apparently Gillium has been very positive and responsive toward the Gopher staff since the offer. So much so in that he's telling some members of the staff that he's going to try and visit Minnesota next month. Again, no visit set in stone and it's very early on between the Gophers and Gillium, but that's the word we're hearing. I'd be very surprised if Gillium flips from Kentucky as there's a lot of connections with Ohio recruits to Kentucky with Vince Marrow, but we'll see how things play out.
Who are some possible in-state 2017 early offers besides Eric Rousemilller?
My top candidate would be Eden Prairie defensive end Jermaine Johnson. Johnson camped at Minnesota's first senior one day and even though he was an underclassman, he was still out of the standouts from that day. Johnson has a very good frame as he's just over 6'3" and 215 pounds and has good speed off the edge. Sources have told GopherDigest that the staff is very high on Johnson after that camp and that it wouldn't be a surprise if Johnson gets an offer in the coming months. Nothing is for certain yet, but Johnson has made a good impression with the Minnesota coaches.
Whats going on with Isaiah Simmons?
Simmons is a safety from Kansas that the Gophers offered back in the spring, but not much has been heard about he and the Gophers since. From digging into things a lot bit more, sounds like Simmons is very focused on schools closer to home in Iowa and Nebraska as location and playing close to family is an important factor for the Kansas safety. Always a chance that things change quickly and the Gophers get back into the picture, but Minnesota has other guys they're focused on right now such as Edward Hayes, Simeon Smiley and Coney Durr.
Last question, With Patrick Kasl committing to Wisconsin, was he ever a really serious candidate for Minnesota?
Yes and no.
Minnesota has been full for the most part at offensive line since early May when Matt Kegel gave the Gophers four offensive line commits with Sam Schlueter, Sean Foster and Conner Olson already in the fold. There is a fifth spot open for a junior college guy like Vincent Calhoun who will take an official visit to Minnesota in a couple days, but if things would have played out differently, Kasl would have definitely been in consideration for an offer. If Kegel would have committed to Oklahoma State or Schlueter to Michigan State, Kasl would probably of been on a short list of guys next up. The next offensive line offer would have most likely gone to Michigan offensive lineman and current Boston College commit Tom Kowalkoski as sources have told GopherDigest that Coach Limegrover really liked what he saw live out of him this spring. To wrap things up here, Kasl was definitely a recruit that the staff wanted to see at camp, but the combination of Minnesota filling up early on and a Wisconsin offer, was too much for Kasl to pass up.
Recruiting Mailbag 6/16
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