Gophers football recruiting diary

Glen Mason and staff have been busy with camps on campus, but they have also been offering athletes and hoping to woo them. Here's what some of those high school football players are telling us about their plans.

NJ WR CLAIMS 6 OFFERS WITH MORE TO COME
by Don Callahan of TheInsiders.com, June 15, 2004 at 9:20pm ET

After busting on the recruiting scene during the May Evaluation Period with offers from N.C. State and Minnesota, Irvington (N.J.) wide receiver Todd Dorcelus has since tripled his offers count. However, with a few good camp performances, the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder could drastically increase that count once again.

"So far I have six offers," stated Dorcelus, whose offers sheet also includes Virginia, Kent State, Indiana, and Connecticut. "Syracuse and Maryland told me if I go to camp and handle business that they would offer me, also."

Dorcelus's favorites is another list that has seen somewhat of a makeover. Once considered a Michigan lean, Dorcelus currently favors three schools including the Wolverines.

"Definitely Virginia, Syracuse and Michigan [are my favorites]," remarked Dorcelus. "I like Virginia because they have everything I'm looking for — they play in a big time conference, they are a team on the rise, and I like their coaching staff and what they are doing. I like Michigan's program because of the tradition, I mean its Michigan. I also like Syracuse's program, because Coach [George] DeLeone is a legend in his time."

As of right now, Dorcelus plans to camp at Virginia and Maryland this summer. UVA's camp will be treated more like a visit, whereas the Terrapins' camp will be a chance for Dorcelus to earn yet another scholarship offer.


DAD FAVORS BIG TEN SCHOOL
by Chris Pool of TheInsiders.com, June 15, 2004 at 6:31pm ET

Walker Ashley, a 6-foot-4, 280-pound defensive lineman from Eden Prairie, Minnesota has several scholarship offers.

Ashley is currently camping at Minnesota this week and he heads to Southern Cal for camp on June 28th.

We asked Ashley what his time table was for making his verbal commitment.

"At the start of the season I'm going to narrow things down to about five schools," said Ashley. "From there I'll probably set up my visits, take my time and make a decision. I want to make sure that I do my homework on all the schools that I'm interested in.

"Purdue, Iowa, Oregon, Penn State, Minnesota and Ohio State have all offered me a scholarship.

"My favorites are Ohio State, Penn State, Minnesota, Miami, Michigan and USC. I don't have a leader."

Ashley is the son of former Minnesota Viking Walker Lee Ashley. The elder Ashley played for Joe Paterno at Penn State.

Will another Ashley be playing his college football for Joe Pa?

"My dad would like me to go to Penn State but he isn't pushing me," Ashley said. "My dad told me to take it slow and that I'll know which college is right for me and I'll also know the right time to make a commitment."

Walker Ashley had 74 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in 2003. He was named all-state as a junior and he'll be a team captain in '04.

Ashley says that he's being recruited as a defensive end but don't be surprised if he moves inside at the next level.


WISCONSIN TACKLE NAMES SIX
by Chris Pool of TheInsiders.com, June 12, 2004 at 2:28pm ET

Eric Vandenheuvel, a 6-foot-7, 330-pound offensive tackle from Hudson, Wis., is going to be a prospect to watch in 2004.

Vandenheuvel wll be a three-year starter that looked solid as a sophomore but fought through injuries as a junior.

"I had a bad junior season." Vandenheuvel said. "I broke my hand and it never healed. We tried to put a cast on it but I kept breaking the cast. Finally the doctors decided to not let me play and let my hand heal.

"I don't have any scholarship offers right now. Minnesota called me in May.

"My favorites are Madison (Wisconsin), Notre Dame, Northern Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa and North Dakota State.

"I'm going to camp at Madison, Notre Dame and Minnesota this summer."

Vandenheuvel was named all-conference as a sophomore. He's the teammate of Wisconsin-bound lineman Kraig Urbik.

I've seen Eric on film as a sophomore and liked what I saw. An injury-plagued junior season didn't help him get any early scholarship offers, but with a solid camp circuit showing this summer and a big senior year, Vandenheuvel should get his fair share of offers.


FINE MIDWEST LINEMAN TALKS FAVORITES
by Chris Pool of TheInsiders.com, June 12, 2004 at 8:03am ET

Rafael Eubanks, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound offensive lineman from St. Paul (Minn.) Cretin Derham-Hall will be a Midwest "Hot 100" selection in 2004 as well as a national "Hot 100" nominee.

Eubanks was an honorable-mention all-state selection as a junior and several schools have already offered a scholarship.

"I have offers from Minnesota, Iowa, Iowa State, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Illinois, Kansas State, Arizona State, Maryland, Stanford, Missouri and Miami." Eubanks said. "My favorites are Minnesota, Stanford, Iowa, Miami, Maryland, Wisconsin and Northwestern.

"I camping this summer at Notre Dame and Minnesota and I'm going to the linemen camp at Wisconsin."

Does Rafael have a time table for giving his verbal commitment?

"I'm probably going to wait and take my visits. I'm going to visit Northwestern on my way to Notre Dame and I've already been to Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa."

Why have so many schools offered Eubanks a scholarship?

"My ability to pull and control my defender, also my athleticism and ability to move in the open field are my strengths."

Rafael Eubanks also plays defensive tackle for Cretin Derham-Hall. He's being recruited as a guard.


QB LIKES TO COMPETE
by Chris Pool of TheInsiders.com, June 11, 2004 at 7:14pm ET

Minnesota's 2004 recruiting class was loaded with quarterbacks and Glen Mason's first 2005 verbal commitment is also from a quarterback.

Marcel Jones, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound quarterback from Inver Grove Heights (Minn.) Simley is headed to "The U" to play his college football.

"I spoke with Coach Mason about all the quarterbacks that he took last year and he told me that they all played quarterback in high school but they all won't play quarterback in college," Jones said. "To me it didn't matter. I like competition and I'm going in there to compete. I look at it as a challenge.

"Wisconsin offered me the day after I committed to Minnesota but that didn't change my mind. I always wanted to go to "The U" (Minnesota).

"The reason I picked Minnesota is because they treated me like a person. Other schools treated me like a football player. Minnesota is interested in me like a person and they cared about my academics as much as my football."

Jones threw for 1,500 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior. He also rushed for 400 yards and scored five touchdowns on the ground. Those numbers were good enough to earn Marcel all-state honors.

Jones begins summer camp tomorrow morning at Minnesota.


LINEBACKER WILL BE VERY BUSY THIS SUMMER
by Chris Pool of TheInsiders.com, June 11, 2004 at 5:47pm ET

Zach Larsen, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker from Northfield, Minn., received several phone calls during the May Evaluation period and he has one scholarship offer.

"Northern Illinois offered me a scholarship," said Larsen. "Northern Illinois, Iowa State, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Ball State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Colorado State and Michigan State all called me during May.

"Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Northern Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Western Michigan and Michigan State are my favorites.

"I'm going camping this summer at Minnesota, Indiana, Notre Dame, Northwestern and Wisconsin."

Larsen will be a three-year varsity starter in 2004. He finished his junior season with 141 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and eight sacks.

Zach also lined up at running back for Northfield and rushed for 360 yards on 59 carries and he scored a touchdown.


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