Minnesota FB Names Five Mid-Year Additions

The University of Minnesota football program announced the addition of five student-athletes. Head Coach Tim Brewster announced Wednesday that December junior college graduates Tramaine Brock (Long Beach, Miss.), David Pittman (Snellville, Ga.), Rex Sharpe (Fairfield, Ala.) and Traye Simmons (Marietta, Ga.) have each signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) top play for the Gophers.

All five student-athletes; Tramaine Brock, David Pittman Rex Sharpe, Traye Simmons and Matt Carufel are expected to enroll at the University of Minnesota in January and participate in the Gophers' 2008 spring drills, which begin in late March.

"These additions will immediately increase the level of competition in our football program and help us take that next step toward becoming a really good football team," said Brewster. "It's truly amazing what this staff has accomplished in recruiting. Across the state of Minnesota and across the country we've reached out and received an outstanding response to our message."

The class addresses several areas of need for the Gophers, especially on defense, where Minnesota added a pair of highly-regarded defensive backs in Brock and Simmons and a rugged linebacker in Sharpe. Pittman, a standout quarterback on the junior college level, is listed by most recruiting services as an athlete and is versatile enough to play a variety of positions.

"Defense was, without question, an area that we wanted to focus on," Brewster added. "We believe the student-athletes in this group have the ability to help make us a better defense today."

The Gophers will have to wait a year to receive the full services of Carufel. One of the nation's highest rated prep linemen in the Class of 2006, the former Cretin-Derham Hall star spent the better part last two seasons in the offensive line rotation at Notre Dame and will not be able to compete in games during the 2008 campaign under NCAA transfer guidelines.

A highly-decorated, hard-hitting safety who excels in both pass coverage and against the run, Brock is expected to push for immediate playing time in the Gophers' secondary. He earned first the All-America honors from the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) in 2007 while helping lead Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College to a perfect 12-0 record and a share of the NJCAA national championship.

Pittman starred as a quarterback at Pasadena City College, where he was the leading passer in the California Community College system as both a junior and a senior. Pittman completed a staggering 556 passes for 6,346 yards and 61 touchdowns during his two-year junior college career.

A speedy, hard-hitting linebacker who displayed a nose for the football throughout his career at Arizona Western College, Sharpe figures to have plenty of opportunity to contribute at Minnesota. A NJCAA 2007 preseason first team All-American, he collected 105 total tackles during a monster sophomore campaign this past season.

Simmons, who is one of the country's top junior college defensive backs, could also have in immediate impact on the Gophers' secondary after collecting 52 total tackles in his two seasons on the junior college level.

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