With most of the excitement of National Signing Day 2013 coming to a close, the Gophers coaching staff stood strong and even managed to make a few surprises as they plucked three more commitments on Wednesday.
The three new commitments for the Gophers push the Class of 2013 to a different level. First off, the late additions showed that the coaching staff can flip recruits from rival BCS schools and secondly, that it can bring a greater strength of talent onto the field.
The surprise additions give Minnesota a total of 19 commitments on National Signing Day with duel-threat quarterback Donovahn Jones leading the list.
Jones, a former Missouri commit, announced his decision on Tuesday night. The opportunity to stick at quarterback and the persistence of the Minnesota coaching staff were the major factors for Jones. While playing in the SEC was a big deal for Jones, he felt the best decision was in the Twin Cities.
Redshirting is probably the best option for Jones, who has moves similar to MarQueis Gray, but he has an extra burst of speed in his repertoire that Gray did not have. Jones will be battling along side fellow recruit, Chris Streveler, for back-up duties to Philip Nelson.
The other surprise on National Signing Day was De’Vondre Campbell. The three-star player from a Kansas junior college switched his pledge from Kansas State on Wednesday. Campbell has three years of eligibility left and could be an immediate impact player for the Gophers as they search for replacements in the linebacking corp. Campbell had additional offers from Texas and Tennessee.
Adding 10 more pounds to his frame would make Campbell fit the Big Ten mold. The former prep player from Florida possesses a special kind of speed at the linebacker position that currently is not on the roster.
The final addition to the Class of 2013 happened on Monday. Defensive back Daletavius ‘Duke’ McGhee was a late addition to the official visit list from last weekend. McGhee has the chance to play either cornerback or safety for the Gophers. He decommitted from both Memphis and Louisiana Tech within the past two weeks to come to Minnesota.
While Minnesota was able to make a few surprises on Wednesday, those surprises came with a cost as a few players chose to take their talents elsewhere.
Tedric Thompson, brother of safety Cedric, chose to stay closer to home by committing to Colorado. Thompson will play in the Pac-12, which was a factor in his decision. The three-star safety was spurned after McGhee signed with the Gophers.
The other player that lost a opportunity for a scholarship was Raphael Webb. The three-star running back was squeezed out of favor after 2014 recruit Jeff Jones committed to the Minnesota coaching staff. Webb committed to Vanderbilt this past weekend.
Overall, the Gophers have 21 players in the Class of 2013 — three of whom are already enrolled at the University. Ten players are on defense, including five linebackers, and another ten are on offense, including three quarterbacks. Kicker Ryan Santoso is the only player on special teams.