Minnesota Most Wanted: Top 5

Calhoun With the summer months in full swing now and the camps winding down for the Minnesota staff, GopherDigest takes a look at the five prospects we believe the Gopher staff wants most. This list is no reflection of what the Gopher staff actually thinks, just how GopherDigest sees it.

With the summer months in full swing now and the camps winding down for the Minnesota staff, GopherDigest takes a look at the five prospects we believe the Gopher staff wants most. This list is no reflection of what the Gopher staff actually thinks, just how GopherDigest sees it.

1) Summit (Miss.) Southwest Mississippi Community College guard Vincent Calhoun

Why: GopherDigest firmly believes that if Calhoun signs with Minnesota, he becomes an immediate starter in spring ball and starts the rest of his Gopher career there. He's that good. Minnesota identified Calhoun as their guy early on in the spring process as Gopher coaches Jay Sawvel and Matt Limegrover went down to Mississippi to see Calhoun first hand and they must have came away awfully impressed as Calhoun is one of maybe two players that the Gophers would take on the offensive line. Cahloun and his father are currently on an official visit to Minnesota that should be ending today, and it'll be interesting to see if the Calhoun family thinks about committing to the Gophers at all in the next few days. The Gopher staff loves Calhoun's combination of size, athletic ability and strength to where he'd be a perfect fit in Minnesota's offense. Expect Minnesota to be relentless in their pursuit of this Mississippi giant.

2) Brenham (Texas) Blinn Community College defensive end Tralund Webber

Why: Webber is currently in the Twin Cities on his official visit to Minnesota and there's a reason the staff is bringing him in so early in the recruiting cycle. In talking with one source close to the staff about Webber, he said Minnesota doesn't have the kind of pass rusher that Webber is on roster right now and that he'd be an immediate impact guy. No knock on the current defensive ends on roster, but more of the staff values you as that good of a player. Another reason he's on this list is because the staff knows they need to grab a JUCO defensive end this class with seniors Theiren Cockran and Alex Keith graduating, leaving the Gophers with just two defensive ends with game experience next year in Gaelin Elmore and Hank Ekpe. Minnesota needs a guy like Webber who can come in a play right away at a high level for this Gopher team to be successful next season. Webber told GopherDigest that Minnesota was his leader coming into the visit, but to not expect a decision soon.

3) Springfield (Ill.) Sacred Heart Griffin tight end Albert Okwuegbunam

Why:Minnesota was Okwuegbunam's first power five offer and he's been on the top of the tight end wish list ever since. The Illinois tight end has visited the Twin Cities twice so far in his recruitment, once last December and one time in April for the Gophers spring game. After recently picking up a Michigan State offer, it'll be interesting to see where he goes from here as he told GopherDigest last week he's trying to make a decision by the end of the summer. Okwuegbunam's combination of athleticism and speed at 6'5" will be a very big mismatch in college and the Gophers would love to add another talent like that. GopherDigest believes that Minnesota is still sitting very well for the Sacred Heart Griffin athlete as Minnesota signed 2015 OL Quinn Oseland from the same high school and there is a connection there. Plus, Okwuegbunam said to GopherDigest last week that even if he doesn't get back for a third visit to Minnesota this summer, that the Gophers are still being heavily considered. Okwuegbunam is a player that the Gophers need to land.

4) Opelika (Ala.) defensive end Zo Bridges

Why: With defensive end being the position most in need for the remainder of the 2016 class, Alabama's Zo Bridges is one that the Gophers can't let get away. One source told GopherDigest recently that Bridges was one of the most explosive players that Minnesota saw all spring and that his burst off the edge is good enough to where he could see time as a true freshman. At 6'1", 210 lbs, what Bridges lacks in size, he makes up for in explosiveness and a motor that never seems to quit. The Gophers need pass rushers and after watching Bridges film, it's very clear that he's a guy that could be a special player by the time his career is done in college. Bridges may be visiting Minnesota in July with his teammate who also has a Gopher offer in Kyle Fourtenbary, but if not then, expect the staff to push hard for an official visit.

5) Pensacola (Fla.) Catholic defensive back Simeon Smiley

Why: After talking with someone close to the Minnesota staff, word is that Smiley was among the best defensive backs that secondary coach Jay Sawvel saw all spring and the Gophers pursuit of Smiley has not wavered at all despite his soft commitment to South Alabama. At 6'1" 200 lbs., Smiley's size is ideal to become the next great Gopher defensive back as he won't need to redshirt because of added weight and with Minnesota graduating their whole starting secondary after this season, playing time is immediately available. I'd expect Coach Sawvel and the rest of the Gopher coaches to push Smiley hard to take an official visit this fall and that their efforts to land him will be constant until signing day.

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