Projected Class: With the season near the halfway point, GI takes our best guess at Minnesota's 2017 recruiting class on offense

With the Gophers near the halfway point in the season, GopherIllustrated takes our best guess at what Minnesota's 2017 recruiting class will look like on the offensive side of the ball.

Quarterback

Projected

http://www.scout.com/player/207093-ryan-glover/recruiting?year=2016&s=176

http://www.scout.com/player/211495-jordan-ta-amu/recruiting?year=2016&s=176

Other candidates

http://www.scout.com/player/207415-willie-cherry?s=176

http://www.scout.com/player/180537-nick-johns/recruiting?year=2016&s=176

Reasoning

I think there's still a lot of ways that quarterback recruiting can / will go, but my best guess right now IF Mark Williams is indeed potentially moving to wide receiver full-time when he's healthy, is for Minnesota to take a high school quarterback, and a junior college quarterback here in the 2017 cycle. Their top target for a high school quarterback is very clear in Georgia signal caller and current Colorado State commit Ryan Glover as he just took an official visit to the Twin Cities for the Iowa game, and while the Glover camp isn't ready to go on record about it yet, the tea leaves read that Minnesota should be able to get a commitment from him by the football season. 

As far as junior college quarterbacks go, from what I've been told, the one Minnesota is researching / looking into the most right now is New Mexico Military Institute's Jordan Ta'amu. Through seven games, Ta'amu is completing 61.8% of his passes with a touchdown to interception ratio of 29:7, and throwing for 342.7 yards per game. He's also leading his team in rushing, so the dual-threat aspect is there as well. No offer or visit is scheduled yet, but as head coach Tracy Claeys starts to make some decisions, I think Ta'amu will be one of the first JUCO quarterbacks they look at seriously. The connection from Minnesota to that specific junior college is Gophers offensive line coach Bart Miller was a graduate assistant with NMMI's offensive coordinator, so the two know each other well. I also want you guys to know that it's not necessarily about the JUCO quarterback "name" at this point, but more of I believe that there's a good chance they take a JUCO quarterback. 

Other quarterbacks to keep an eye on are Texas high school quarterback Willie Cherry who Gophers OC Jay Johnson went and saw during the bye, and as far as another JUCO, keep an eye on NEO CC quarterback Nick Johns as one Minnesota has looked into. 

Running back

Already committed:

http://www.scout.com/player/184254-dominik-london/recruiting?year=2016&s...

Projected

http://www.scout.com/player/184254-dominik-london?s=176

http://www.scout.com/player/206292-jakyle-holmes/recruiting?year=2016&s=176

Other candidates

http://www.scout.com/player/205804-grant-walker/recruiting?year=2016&s=176

http://www.scout.com/player/208755-larry-wooden/recruiting?year=2016&s=176

Reasoning

Gophers are already happy to lock down the best running back in Minnesota is East Ridge's Dominik London, and they're looking for another back to join him.

If Minnesota head coach Tracy Claeys wanted, they could already have Louisiana athlete Jakyle Holmes in the bag, but I believe the Gophers staff is still trying to figure out what they want to do with that other running back spot. What I mean by that is, they may be trying to figure out still what kind of running back they want to pair with London. Holmes told GopherIllustrated this week that he's spoken with the Gopher staff, and they're working on setting up an official visit for one of the first two weekends in December, which really proves the point that Minnesota is still exploring other options outside of Holmes. 

One name that hasn't been talked about a lot is Georgia Southern commit Grant Walker. Minnesota coach Brian Anderson was able to go and see him live during the bye week, and his body type and style of play are drastically different than what London would provide. Also keep an eye on Spain Park running back Larry Wooden, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see more running back names pop up here in November.

Tight End

Already committed: 

http://www.scout.com/player/205482-nathan-bursch?s=176

Projected signees:

http://www.scout.com/player/205482-nathan-bursch?s=176

http://www.scout.com/player/200460-jacob-paulson/recruiting?year=2016&s=176

Other candidates

http://www.scout.com/player/208896-sal-cannella/recruiting?year=2016&s=176

http://www.scout.com/player/206135-noah-gindorff/recruiting?year=2016&s=176

Reasoning:

Gophers currently have one tight end commit in Woodbury's Nathan Bursch, and again, they're extremely happy with that as their getting a dominant blocking tight end. The comparison I've heard from sources is that Minnesota thinks he's a combination of Brandon Lingen and Maxx Williams. Sources believe he's more than athletic enough to be a threat in the passing game, but he's among the best blocking tight ends that Minnesota has signed in the Claeys era, if not the best out of high school.

The other tight end spot for this class could go a few different ways. Minnesota just offered Western Kentucky commit Jacob Paulson this past week, and he's told GopherIllustrated that he's thinking about taking an official visit to Minnesota following his senior season and that he's "curious to see what they have to offer". We'll find out in a month or so if that visit was occur. 

Crosby (Minn.) and NDSU TE commit Noah Gindorff is a name we've been talking about since the spring after he performed well at a Nike Combine in Chicago. Minnesota didn't end up doing anything with him after the summer, but they're monitoring his progress closely thus far. 

JUCO tight end you say? I say is a possibility worth exploring and it sounds like the Gophers are. The name to watch here is Scottsdale tight end Sal Cannella as Minnesota's been talking with him more and more over the last couple of weeks. Cannella is a tight end / wide receiver hybrid, and he's third on his team in receptions this season, and he leads them in touchdowns. With it looking likely that Duke Anyanwu will not return to the field again, and Brandon Lingen battling injuries this season, Minnesota is lacking a big play threat in the passing game that Cannella could potentially provide in the middle of the field. We'll have to see what Claeys decides to do here with about two months left until December signing day. 

Wide Receiver

Already committed:

http://www.scout.com/player/209498-javan-hawes/recruiting?year=2016&s=176

Projected signees:

http://www.scout.com/player/209498-javan-hawes/recruiting?year=2016&s=176

http://www.scout.com/player/207390-isaac-zico/recruiting?year=2016&s=176

Other candidates

http://www.scout.com/player/199828-joshua-johnson/recruiting?year=2016&s...

http://www.scout.com/player/196884-ralph-leonard/recruiting?year=2016&s=176

http://www.scout.com/player/211689-jaylen-hall/recruiting?year=2016&s=176

Reasoning:

Gophers are off to a good start with already one commitment from Georgia's Javan Hawes, who does have some position flexibility to potentially be a defensive back, but he's committed right now as a receiver and that's where I anticipate him starting his Gopher career. 

It's looking more and more likely that Minnesota will end up taking a junior college receiver in this class, and the two names to note right now are Georgia Military wide receiver Isaac Zico, and East Mississippi's Ralph Leonard. Zico just picked up an offer from West Virginia and is currently third in all of JUCO football with nine touchdown receptions. Leonard currently leads East Mississippi in touchdown receptions and is averaging over 15 yards a reception. Both have told GopherIllustrated that the Gophers have spoken with them about potentially taking official visits after their seasons are finished. 

Iowa State wide receiver commit Josh Johnson took an unofficial visit to Minnesota over the summer, and the Gophers would still likely to try and see if Johnson has any wavering thoughts about his Cyclones commitment after their 1-6 start. Johnson has maintained that he's solid, but we'll see as signing day approaches. Jaylen Hall is another name that WR coach Brian Anderson went and saw live during the bye, and he's one to keep an eye on

Offensive Line

Already committed: 

http://www.scout.com/player/201919-blaise-andries?s=176

http://www.scout.com/player/203413-eric-abojei/recruiting?year=2016&s=176

http://www.scout.com/player/200860-brett-kitrell/recruiting?year=2016&s=176

http://www.scout.com/player/206508-corey-gaynor/recruiting?year=2016&s=176

Projected signees:

http://www.scout.com/player/201919-blaise-andries?s=176

http://www.scout.com/player/203413-eric-abojei/recruiting?year=2016&s=176

http://www.scout.com/player/200860-brett-kitrell/recruiting?year=2016&s=176

http://www.scout.com/player/206508-corey-gaynor/recruiting?year=2016&s=176

Other candidates

http://www.scout.com/player/208528-arlington-hambright?s=176

http://www.scout.com/player/208390-cole-schneider?s=176

Reasoning:

Bart Miller and the Gophers are very close to being done here in offensive line recruiting for 2017, and they've satisfied their needs. Minnesota wanted two tackles (Blaise Andries and Eric Abojei) a physical guard (Corey Gaynor) and a center in Brett Kitrell. I have heard that the Gophers may pursue a junior college offensive lineman, but the plan is as of right now, that Minnesota is done of the offensive line.

Total number for 2017 on offense: 12

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