Minnesota Looking for "D" Help From Joliet CC

The Minnesota Gopher coaching staff continues to look hard for defensive help for next season. Their recruiting efforts have meant the coaches have looked hard at Joliet (IL) CC as they are recruiting three members and are actively pursuing Mark Dietz, Eric Small and Chris Patterson.

Joliet is off to a 6-2 start this season. They begin first round playoff action this week versus Rock Valley. If they win, they would advance to face the winner of Grand Rapids and Harper. Joliet could play in a bowl game, although head coach Tom Minnick is uncertain where that game might be played.

Minnick said that he is waiting to hear the latest news from Mark Dietz, a 6-foot-4, 250 pound sophomore linebacker. The Gophers were expected to extend a scholarship offer.

"I want to find out if Minnesota offered him."

Dietz and Eric Small, a 6-foot-3, 275 pound defensive end, are both receiving interest from Minnesota. Small is a transfer from Missouri State, who redshirted last season. The two players would like to play together, which should help Minnesota's chances of landing the defensive duo.

"They both want to play in the Big 10. They are both good buddies and would probably room together. Minnesota said that they can come in and play right away, which is appealing to them."

Dietz has also received an offer from Iowa State and is getting attention from several MAC schools. Small has an offer from Iowa State.

Minnick said that his team practiced at the Minnesota facility earlier this year as they traveled to North Dakota School of Science. He said that Dietz and Small are expected to visit Minnesota once their season is over.

Minnesota is also recruiting Chris Patterson, a 6-foot-3, 210 pounds linebacker, who starred at Chicago Hubbard High School. Patterson transferred to Joliet from Northeast Oklahoma where he earned NJCAA All-America honors after redshirting as a freshman. He had committed to Oklahoma out of high school, but was forced to go the JC route.

Patterson is hearing from Mississippi, Minnesota, Iowa State and Oregon, according to Minnick and he is expected to receive an offer from Kansas soon.

Patterson is waiting to see, if he will be done with his academics in time to enroll at a Division I school, according to Minnick.

"If he wants to go to a Big 10 school, he might have to take a couple of extra classes. Minnesota said that he can wait and enroll later."

In eight games this season, Patterson has recorded 26 tackles (21 solo), two tackles for loss, two sacks, and one forced fumble.

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