Gopher FB Recruits Prepare for Playoffs

Several Minnesota recruits shined in their eighth game of the 2004 season last Thursday. The playoffs will begin Tuesday. The following is a look at some of the performances by Minnesota commitments or recruiting targets.

Gopher verbal Nate Triplett of Delano (MN) High ran for 131 yards on 21 carries as they defeated Annadale 37-27 to improve to 6-2. He had a 2-yard touchdown pass and scored on a 65-yard kickoff return after a safety. Triplett also completed a 27-yard pass and had one interception. He has 142 carries for 1,107 yards with 14 touchdowns (12 rushing) and 59 tackles for the season. The Tigers will face Blake at home in the first round of the playoffs.


Gopher verbal Jay Thomas of Oakdale (MN) Tartan rushed 16 times for 150 yards as the Titans beat Simley, 21-7. Thomas had a touchdown run of 38 yards in the second half to give him 18 touchdowns this season, 16 rushing, both Tartan records. Thomas has led the Titans to a 6-2 mark. He has excellent speed and finished third in the 100-yard (10.77) and 200-yard dash (21.49) in the state meet. Thomas was also a key reserve on the Titans team that that advanced to the Class AAAA boy's basketball tournament. Thomas has carried the ball 117 times for 1,279 yards this season. The Titans will face Stillwater at home in the first round of the playoffs. 


Chris Joppru, a 6-5, 225-pound tight end from Minnetonka (MN) High, caught three passes for 17 yards to help lead the Skippers to a 58-0 win over St. Louis Park. His brother, Bennie, was a standout tight end for the Michigan Wolverines who is now with the NFL's Houston Texans. Minnetonka is off to a 7-1 start. Joppru is hearing from Michigan, Minnesota, Ball State, North Dakota State and South Dakota State. He has 25 catches for 378 yards this season. The Skippers will face Edina at home in the first round of the playoffs.


Marcel Jones completed 14 of 28 passes as he threw for 181 yards and one touchdown as the Spartans lost to Simley 21-7, falling to 3-5. Jones rushed 18 times for 72 yards. Jones, who was the first player to commit to the Gophers this year, has completed 113 of 240 passes for 1,710 yards with 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. The Spartans will face St. Paul Humboldt at home in the first round of the playoffs.


Gopher commitment Eric Decker, a 6-foot-3 wide receiver from Cold Springs (MN) Rocori, caught a 46-yard touchdown pass to lead the Spartans to a 29-13 win over Fergus Falls. The Spartans (5-1 in conference play and 7-1 overall) will be the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Section 8, Class 4A playoffs. Decker attended the Gopher football camp and became the fourth in-state player to pledge to Minnesota. Decker entered the game with  46 catches for 676 yards (14.7 yards per catch) and 12 receiving touchdowns. He is also a standout basketball player for Rocori.


Athletic Reggie Rock of St. Paul (MN) Cretin Derham Hall has moved to defensive back after starting the season at quarterback. Most observers feel that defensive back will be his primary spot in college. He finished with four tackles as the Raiders lost to Evangel Christian Academy 47-7 of Louisiana on Fox Sports Thursday night. Rock, who is getting looks from Florida, Florida State, Minnesota, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame and Wisconsin, has completed 49 of 92 passes for 848 yards and five touchdowns this season.


Junior wide receiver Kimuel Royston, who attended the Gopher football camp, has 20 catches for 395 yards and five touchdowns this season.


Quinn Hendel, a 6-3, 215-pound running back from Plymouth (MN) Wayzata High, had a 10-yard touchdown run and finished with 122 yards on 24 carries as the Trojans defeated Hopkins 40-14 to improve to 7-1. Hendel has 178 carries for 1,137 yards and nine touchdowns. The Trojans will face Cooper at home in the first round of the playoffs.


Zach Larsen of Northfield finished with six carries for 21 yards and also plays linebacker as he helped lead the Raiders to a 42-12 win over Hutchinson. The Raiders have outscored their opponents 286-44 this season. Larsen has 41 carries for 213 yards and five touchdowns. The Raiders will face Winona at home in the first round of the playoffs.


Lakeville wide receiver Andy Metz caught a 38-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Marcus Brumm to help lead the Panthers to a 17-6 win over Chaska. Metz, who attended Saturday's Gopher game, has caught 24 passes for 305 yards with five touchdowns. The Panthers will face Owatonna at home in the first round of the playoffs.


Junior quarterback Adam Weber of Arden Hills (MN) Mounds Views completed 10 of 18 passes for 175 yards and one touchdown as the Mustangs defeated Stillwater 28-7. He is the son of former Gophers player Bobby Weber. Weber has completed 71 of 135 passes for 1,249 yards for 12 touchdowns this season. He attended Saturday's Gopher game versus Illinois and has already received a scholarship offer from Minnesota



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