Let's dig in.
***I expect Minnesota's recruiting momentum to continue into the next few weeks and wouldn't be surprised to see potentially one more before the season starts. Texas cornerback Antoine Winfield Jr. took an extended unofficial visit to the Twin Cities during mid-July and when he left, he told GopherDigest that Minnesota was his leader now and he wanted a decision before the season. There's been nothing to make me think anything has changed and I fully expect that if Winfield makes a decision before the season, it'll be Minnesota. He grew up with Gopher commit Carter Coughlin and really enjoyed speaking with head coach Jerry Kill and DB's coach Jay Sawvel on his visit. I'd argue that Winfield is the top corner on the board right now for the Gophers and Minnesota would love to add Vikings legacy recruit before the season.
***The latest with former five-star JUCO linebacker Davon Durant and Minnesota is that he's still planning on visiting the Twin Cities, probably this weekend. Durant spoke with GopherDigest.com earlier this morning and he still has not set a firm date for his Minnesota visit, but alluded to it would "probably" be this weekend. Personally, I don't expect Durant to eventually end up at Minnesota. I just don't think the fit is right and Durant ends up at a school like Ole Miss where he was very interested in before Arizona State.
***Florida wide receiver Dredrick Snelson, who holds offers from Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss and Notre Dame among others, does have legit interest in Minnesota after speaking with him in the last 24 hours. Snelson spoke with Gophers head coach Jerry Kill yesterday afternoon about the offer and official visit and things are set for Halloween against Michigan. Some of Snelson's offers are not committable right now such as Alabama, but Snelson is still a very good talent and would be a great get for Minnesota. Potentially playing with the Daniels twins is a big incentive for the Florida receiver.
***One reason why Snelson may not end up a Gopher is because I wouldn't be surprised if the Gophers were full at wide receiver soon between J.D. Spielman, Bailey Edwards and Drew Hmielewski. Spielman and GopherDigest spoke following his camp and BBQ experience a week ago and he named Minnesota his co-leader with Nebraska, plus used "future teammates" a few times in conversation. He's teammates with Coughlin and I wouldn't be surprised to see a decision before October for Eden Prairie speedster. Edwards is another one to keep an eye on as if he doesn't get more interest from in-state schools Michigan and Michigan State, I think he could pull the trigger. Hmielewski is the last one to keep an eye on in September as after the Gophers see some early senior film on him, I think an offer could be very close as it already is. And if an offer comes, I think a commitment would soon follow.
***Minnesota is also sitting very well with Mississippi JUCO offensive lineman Vincent Calhoun and Florida outside linebacker Andre Polk. Calhoun took an official visit back in June and named the Gophers his leader then and nothing has changed that in the weeks since. Calhoun's father was very impressed by the visit and I have a hard time thinking that Calhoun goes anywhere but the Twin Cities at this point. The only thing that could change my tune is an offer from a school like Georgia, Ole Miss or Mississippi State. Polk has been very high on the Gophers since the offer and I've heard from sources that Sherels is extremely high on him as well. Polk tells GopherDigest he's working on scheduling to Minnesota very soon, but one source tells me to expect him to visit for the Gophers homecoming game against Ohio in September. If the Gophers get a commitment from Polk, I'd expect LB to really shut down except for maybe one more target.
***Also don't be surprised if the Gophers have another official visitor on campus for the Halloween game against Michigan that's committed elsewhere. No name will be released at this point as he is committed to another team, but know that the Minnesota staff is working hard behind the scenes.
***Behind Winfield, GopherDigest has heard from a source that the top two targets at defensive backs are Florida's Simeon Smiley and Arkansas' Kiondre Thomas. DB coach Jay Sawvel has been working extremely hard to put the Gophers in a great position heading in the fall, and has done so with Smiley visiting for the Michigan game on Halloween and Thomas being very close to nailing down a date as well. Smiley has some academic things to take care of, but the ability is absolutely there and I had one source tell me Smiley was among the best defensive backs saw all spring. Both guys are 6'0" - 6'1", who run well with very good length and aren't afraid to hit. Especially if Winfield commits before September, look for Minnesota to take a larger defensive back for their last spot.
***Fort Scott (Kan.) C.C. defensive tackle Walvenski Aime will be taking his official visit to Minnesota on Friday and while GopherDigest isn't expecting a commitment from Aime so soon after, if it does happen, look for the Gophers to be done at defensive tackle. With Jojo Garcia already committed and the Gophers only losing Robert Ndondo-Lay, there isn't a significant need at DT, like there is at defensive end. Aime doesn't know much about the Gophers, but like most guys who visit Minnesota, I'm expecting him to be very surprised by what he sees this weekend.
***Lastly, I've heard that Illinois tight end Albert Okwuegbunam could be down to just Minnesota and Missouri. A source close to Okwuegbunam says that he likes Missouri because of their offense and how they'd use him, while with Minnesota it's more of his connection with the staff and how he likes the school. I think the Okwuegbunam waits things out into the season to take a couple official visits before deciding just after his season. Minnesota is still in very good position between the multiple unofficial visits to Twin Cities, the Gophers being his first big-time offer and his teammate in Quinn Oseland enrolled at Minnesota now.
Ryan's Recruiting Roundup: 7/28
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