Minnesota Football Recruiting: Signing Day 2013 Primer

Coach Jerry Kill and his program have been look forward to National Signing Day for a while.  February 6th will allow the coach to show off his new recruits and express how the Gophers are continuing to improve under his watch.  According to Rivals, Minnesota’s recruiting class ranks dead last in the Big Ten, but it does not mean it lacks talent.  Quarterback Chris Streveler and running back Berkley Edwards lead the current 16-man class.  Here is how the Gophers’ class looks like going into Signing Day:

Who is Enrolled?

  • Hendrick Ekpe  DE  Lewisville, TX (Lewisville)
  • Jordan Hinojosa  DT  Coffeyville, KS (Coffeyville C.C.)
  • Chris Streveler  QB  Woodstock, IL (Marian Central Catholic)
  • Damien Wilson  LB  Ellisville, MS (Jones County J.C.)

Who is Committed?

  • Eric Carter  WR  Lakeland, FL (Lake Gibson)
  • Rayfield Dixon  LB  Loxahatchee, FL (Seminole Ridge)
  • Berkley Edwards  RB  Chelsea, MI (Chelsea)
  • De’Niro Laster  LB  Cleveland, OH (Cleveland Heights)
  • Alex Mayes  OL  Van Alstyne, TX (Van Alstyne)
  • Jalen Myrick  DB  Savannah, GA (Savannah Christian School)
  • Demaris Peppers  DT  Memphis, TN (Fairley)
  • Owen Salzwedel  DE  Beaver Dam, WI (Beaver Dam)
  • Ryan Santoso  K  Pace, FL (Pace)
  • Chris Wipson  LB  Wayzata, MN (Wayzata)
  • Drew Wolitarsky  WR  Canyon Country, CA (Canyon)
  • Nate Wozniak  TE  Greenwood, IN (Center Grove)

Who is Left? (Three Scholarships)

  • Tedric Thompson  DB  Valencia, CA (Valencia)

Thompson’s brother, Cedric, is a starter for the Gophers at safety and was a late-signee back in 2011.  The younger Thompson has been pushing back his official visits for months, but finally made it to campus last weekend.  He has had official visits to Minnesota, Colorado, and Fresno State.  Thompson is a likely commitment with the lack of defensive backs in the current class.

  • Donovahn Jones  QB  Hampton, GA (Dutchtown)

Missouri locked down Jones early in the recruiting process.  Since then, the Tiger’s grip on Jones has loosened and has allowed the Gophers to be back in the mix.  Missouri wants the athlete as a wide receiver, while coach Kill would like to keep Jones at quarterback.  Jones will make his decision on Signing Day.

  • Rapheal Webb  RB  Gainsville, FL (Gainesville)

It looks like Webb is not certain what he wants.  A little over a month ago, he had top-two schools of Boston College and Florida Atlantic.  Then, both Minnesota and Vanderbilt showed interest in the running back.  He visited the Twin Cities on January 25th and visited Vanderbilt last weekend.

  • Reggie Spearman  LB  Chicago, IL (Simeon)

While Spearman is currently committed to Illinois, he has been taking visits all over the Big Ten this winter.  He was originally committed to Indiana, then Illinois.  Minnesota is now in play along with Iowa and Syracuse.  Spearman would instantly jump to the top of the commitment board if he pledged to coach Kill.  He’s a talented outside linebacker that could play instantly.

  • JJ Green  WR  Florence, AL (Florence)

The coaching staff is leaving Green hanging.  It appears that everything depends on what the rest of the remaining recruits decide.  If things do not go the Gophers way, the program will give Green a scholarship.  The two-star receiver is currently committed to UAB.

  • Daletavius McGhee  DB  Ellenwood, GA (Cedar Grove)

McGhee was a late addition to the final official visit weekend of the season.  The safety is currently committed to Louisiana Tech, but has offers from UCF and Memphis. He was originally committed to Memphis in October, but the two-star recruit flipped to Louisiana Tech last week.

Three Storylines to Watch:

Can every commitment stick?

The football program has not had the greatest luck with its pledges since Kill arrived.  Besides the trio of defensive backs that have decommitted within the past few months, Minnesota has lost a couple recruits on Signing Day the past two seasons.  Last year, linebacker Drew Davis chose to stay home in Raleigh after NC State offered him late.  It forced a hole at inside linebacker.  The coaches have been extremely careful this season, urging all players to only commit when certain.

What is the goal at defensive back?

Gone are the likes of Nate Andrews, Keelon Brookins, and Nate Godwin.  Currently, the Gophers only have one defensive back commitment in Jalen Myrick with two seniors graduating.  It seems that the program is not certain what they are getting at defensive back and could try to peg an unknown in the final week.  Minnesota has been able to develop defensive backs in the past two years, including former two-star recruits (Derrick Wells and Cedric Thompson).

Who is likely to see the field in 2013?

Kill burned over a dozen of his freshman’s redshirts last season, so he is not concerned about eligibility.  The true freshman that will play will be lower in 2013.  Junior college transfers, Damien Wilson and Jordan Hinojosa, will get a shot to play instantly in Minnesota’s defensive front seven.  Berkley Edwards should get a shot with some carries at running back with current Gophers, Devon Wright and David Cobb, changing positions.  The kicker, Ryan Santoso, could be the Gophers starter this fall.  Finally, one or two of the linebackers along with a wide receiver should see the field.

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