Let's dig in.
***Look for Minnesota to remain in close contact with Laurel (Miss.) quarterback Keon Howard going into the season while they decide whether or not to take a second quarterback. Howard was planning on attending the Gophers BBQ next weekend, but he and his family have decided that they'll just take an official visit to the Twin Cities this fall as it's a money situation. It's clear that Howard is the top and maybe only quarterback on the board still to go along with Tony Poljan. Poljan confirmed that GopherDigest today he'll be in the Twin Cities next week and that he's 100% solid to the Gophers. Poljan plans on being in Minnesota next week from Wednesday through Saturday as he'll be leaving immediately after the BBQ to drive through the night back home to Michigan.
***The more I look into the situation, the more I think that Minnesota is going to have a real shot with Texas running back Rakeem Boyd. Boyd had been very high on Michigan, but sources within the Scout network have told GopherDigest that the Wolverines are likely full for the class at running back already, so it's an open ballgame. Will there be some definite competition for Boyd? Absolutely. He has other offers from Missouri, Houston, SMU, West Virginia and Arizona State, but those are schools the Gophers can compete with. Running back is the farthest thing from a need for Minnesota at this point with five freshmen on scholarship there, so expect Minnesota to be very selective there.
***I'm going to be very interested to see how things play out at wide receiver for Minnesota with Phillip Howard already committed. Scout 300 Desmond Fitzpatrick was recently offered and word is that he and his father are interested in the offer. Enough so to where they're thinking of visiting during September on an unofficial visit. I can confirm from talking with the Fitzpatrick's camp today that no date is set, but something to watch going forward. Georgia wide receiver DeAndre Huff will be up in Minneapolis for the BBQ next weekend and he wants to make a decision before the end of the month. Rutgers and Minnesota are the front runners, so look for the Gophers to potentially hear good news if they're still open. You also have other guys like Bailey Edwards and J.D. Spielman who are in contention, so I think things get wrapped up at receiver sooner rather than later.
***I still believe that Minnesota is sitting in a very good position with Illinois tight end Albert Okwuegbunam for two reasons.
1) Minnesota has the support of his coaches and his teammate Quinn Oseland is now on campus. One source told GopherDigest that the Sacred Heart Griffin staff are big fans of head coach Jerry Kill and that showed as over 15 players from their high school attended Minnesota's Big Man camp in June. Oseland and Okwuegbunam were also good friends in high school and Oseland will be working him hard to seal the deal.
2) The way Minnesota used their tight ends is very appealing to the Illinois athlete. Okwuegbunam doesn't want to be used as a traditional tight end every play and it's been made clear to him at Minnesota that won't be the case. The Gophers plan to split him out wide a lot like they did with Maxx Williams last season and it's a key selling point that the Gophers have over other schools like Michigan State where the tight end is more traditionally on the line more often.
I think there's a chance that IF Okquegbunam does come up for the BBQ next weekend, he could pull the trigger, but it's not likely as he wants to take some official visits during the season.
***Minnesota is still in a very good place for both Mississippi JUCO guard Vincent Calhoun and Texas JUCO defensive end Tralund Webber, following their official visit last month. GopherDigest touched base with both players this morning and both maintain that the Gophers are in the lead. Calhoun hasn't set up any more visits yet and Webber will be taking an official visit to Iowa State on Halloween and plans to visit Cincinnati in December as well.
***One defensive end to watch is Florida's Terrell Lucas. GopherDigest spoke Lucas and he says the Gophers are recruiting him the hardest right now and that he's in touch with either Coach Phelps or Coach Claeys everyday. They're working on setting up an official visit soon and Minnesota has put themselves in a good place with one of their top D-line targets.
***After speaking with one source, it sounds like Minnesota believes they're in a good place with Kentucky defensive back commit Tobias Gillium. Defensive backs coach Jay Sawvel has made good headway with the Ohio defensive back and it wouldn't be surprising to see him on an official visit this fall.
***Another defensive back elsewhere that Minnesota has remained constant in their contact with is Houston safety commit Collin Wilder and here's what he told GopherDigest. "Coach Sawvel still wants to get me on campus as they still send me messages daily. They're trying to get me on an official visit this fall and I would consider it."
Expect Minnesota to really push to get Wilder on campus for an official visit before all is said and done as sources have told Scout that he's one of Jay Sawvel's top targets.
***Arkansas defensive back Kiondre Thomas is another to keep an eye on as Minnesota is among the teams recruiting him the hardest. He tells GopherDigest that he and Sawvel talk everyday on Twitter and they're working on setting up an official visit to Minnesota soon after Thomas' season.
Ryan's Recruiting Roundup: 7/9
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