After years of losing many of his home state's best players to other schools, including several to Notre Dame, Minnesota Golden Gopher coach Glen Mason got this recruiting season off and running by receiving commitments from five Minnesota natives at this past Saturday's Junior Day. Last year, the Gophers did not receive their first commitment until June and only signed six players from Minnesota.
The first recruit to commit was defensive lineman Anthony Jacobs of Northfield. Jacobs has played mostly defensive tackle in high school, but like many recruits he will have to add size and strength before lining up at that position for the Gophers. The coaches love his attitude and his 4.75 speed may enable him to play on the outside in college.
While none of the Minnesota commitments had offers from other schools at this early date, the player that was receiving the most early interest was wide out Shane Potter from Class AAA state champion Becker High. Potter has battled injuries throughout his career but this past year he was able to catch passes for 918 yards and 16 touchdowns. He had heard from Ohio State, Iowa, and Wisconsin before committing to the Gophers.
The other Minnesota commits were offensive lineman Ryan Wynn, running back Andre Tate, and defensive end Broderick Binns. While the Gophers received these junior commitments, they also added to their 2006 recruiting class. Florida athlete Daron Love signed a letter of intent with Minnesota this past week. Love could play either receiver or defensive back at Minnesota.
Kansas State also had a very good week, as they secured four pledges for 2007. Like Mason, new head coach Ron Prince is focused on keeping in-state players at home. However, three of the four commitments obtained this past week were from the state of Missouri.
The heaviest recruited commit is Lamark Brown of Hazelwood, MO. Brown has played safety and running back for Hazelwood West High School. He could play running back at Kansas State, but at 6-4, 220-pounds, he will most likely grow into a linebacker if he plays defense. Brown has always been a Kansas State fan and that was the main reason he chose the Wildcats despite offers from Nebraska and Missouri.
The one in-state player to commit to KSU this week was 6-7, 250-pound offensive tackle Kaleb Drinkgern of Maryville. With his height, he should have no problem adding the weight necessary to play tackle for the Wildcats. Michigan State, Wisonsin, and Illinois were some of the other schools that were showing interest in Drinkgern.
LSU had their own Junior Day last Saturday and it resulted in two commitments for the Tigers. Coach Les Miles offered athlete John Williams on Saturday and the Breux Bridge, LA native immediately accepted. LSU will be able to use his 4.5 speed at either safety, wide receiver, or running back. On Wednesday, LSU received a commitment from offensive tackle D'Montreal Wilson of Rayville, La. The 6-4, 305-pound Wilson also had offers from Ole Miss and Oklahoma.
The highest rated player on Scout.com that committed this past week was wide receiver Marcus Mathews, who chose Brigham Young. Though he does not possess breakaway speed, at 6-5, 200-pounds, the four-star prospect from Beaverton, OR presents match-up problems for smaller defenders. As a Mormon, Mathews always had BYU on his radar screen and had camped in Provo each of the last two years. Boston College, Oregon, and Washington had also shown interest in Mathews.
One school that has had a reputation for closing down its borders let a recruit slip out of state this week. Omaha, Neb. resident Harland Gunn spurned the Cornhuskers by choosing the Miami Hurricanes. Despite being from Nebraska, Miami was the first school to offer him a scholarship and that impressed the 6-3, 300-pound lineman. Gunn plays on both lines but will most likely play guard at the next level.