QBs commit to Minnesota

Glen Mason and his Golden Gophers added two more quarterbacks to their stable of recruits this week, and the competition to find Asad Abdul-Khaliq's successor suddenly is hotter than El Paso in December.

Mason had already signed Tony Mortensen of Hutchinson, Johnny Carlson of Hopkins, and Mike Maciejowski of Upper Arlington, Ohio, heading into the most recent signing period. This week, he added two more signal-callers: Andre Sloan El of Philadelphia, and David Wess from Whitehall, Ohio.

Sloan El is the player who's popped the eyes of more scouts around the country, and after visiting Minneapolis last weekend, he decided this week to commit to the U. This year he threw for 1,500 yards and 20 TDs while running for 300 yards and five scores in leading Roman Catholic HS to a 9-4 record. He chose Minnesota over Kentucky, Iowa, Indiana and Kent State.

Wess was a Division II all-state selection as a defensive back at Whitehall HS this year, and also threw for 1,640 yards as a quarterback. He also visited the U last weekend and chose Minnesota over Ohio State, Boston College, Maryland, West Virginia and Toledo.

The Gophers also announced that freshman quarterback Peter Martinsen had informed the coaches that he would be leaving school at the end of the semester.

Minnesota doesn't have an experienced quarterback on its 2004 roster, with Abdul-Khaliq and backup Benji Kamrath graduating after this season. Conventional wisdom said Mason would bring in a junior college quarterback to fight for the job, much as he did when Travis Cole came to the U to battle then-freshman Abdul-Khaliq for the right to succeed Billy Cockerham. That could still happen, but if not, the Gophers will have no shortage of freshmen signal-callers to audition next August.

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