Minnesota Football Recruiting: Offensive Signees

Quarterback Chris Streveler and running back Berkley Edwards lead the class on offense on National Signing Day and commits at wide receiver and place kicker will address inconsistencies that should make the Gophers a better team next season.

Minnesota’s offense was atrocious for most of the 2012 season.  Jerry Kill needed to add instant offense, and he was able to encapsulate that with his 2013 recruiting class, especially with the addition of Edwards.

With MarQueis Gray graduating, the Gophers lack a game-changer.  The sole game-changer in the 2013 class is running back Berkley Edwards.  Edwards is one of the top sprinters in the state of Michigan after running a 4.4 40-yard-dash.  He will come in as one of the faster players on the roster.

During his senior season, Edwards ran for almost 1,400 yards and 21 touchdowns.

The running back position became rather thin during the offseason after position changes to both Devon Wright and David Cobb.  At season’s end, the depth chart included Donnell Kirkwood, Rodrick Williams, KJ Maye, and James Gillum.

Dec 28, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers running back Donnell Kirkwood (20) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the second quarter of the Car Care Bowl at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Kirkwood and Williams accounted for most of the carries in the second half of the season, yet their styles are similar.  The two are bruising running backs that make their own holes by plowing through them.  While they are able to find success, the offense needs a speedy back to offset the styles.

Edwards fits perfectly in that role.  The addition of Edwards allows for more opportunities at big-time runs along with the ability to stretch the field horizontally.

As the coaching staff burned Philip Nelson’s redshirt in the middle of the season, the move to Minnesota looked perfect for Streveler.  After Shortell’s decision to transfer, Streveler will rise to second on the depth chart before making it to the Twin Cities.

Streveler is likely to redshirt during his first season, but he decided to join the team back in January to learn the offense in order to ease the transition.

The duel-threat quarterback dominated competition in Illinois during his senior season.

He complete over 66 percent of his passes and threw for nearly 2,400 yards.  He also did work with his feet by running for 1,100 yards.

The coaching staff added two wide receivers to the class,  Drew Wolitarsky and Eric Carter. Both should give the Gophers depth at receiver.

The departure of AJ Barker left a major hole in the Minnesota lineup.  Kill and company is still searching for the right combination of receivers.  During the season, the coaching staff continuously rotated several receivers in the lineup.

Carter, a prototypical slot receiver, chose the Maroon and Gold over Missouri, Purdue, and Cincinnati.  The Florida receiver caught the ball 54 times last year and racked up 800 receiving yards.  The Gophers are in need of a slot receiver after injuries to sophomore Marcus Jones.

As for Wolitarsky, he fits the bill as an outside receiver with great route running skills and good hands.  Wolitarsky hails from California.  Over his high school career, he broke multiple state receiving records including receptions.  He reeled in 89 catches his senior year for 1,275 receiving yards.

The first recruit to commit to the Class of 2013 was Alex Mayes.  The offensive lineman had over 40 schools recruiting him, but the Texan chose Minnesota back in June.  Mayes really enjoyed his visits in the Twin Cities and fell in love with the honesty of the coaching staff.  He was one of the few recruits to make the journey to Houston to watch the Gopher play in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

On another note, his brother, Connor, is one of the top centers in the Class of 2014.

The newest addition on offense is Nate Wozniak.  Wozniak is six-foot-nine and comes in as a tight end, but given time, Wozniak could develop into an offensive lineman.  If he stays at tight end, expect Wozniak to be a target in the red zone.

Wozniak is an example of getting players to visit the Twin Cities.  The Gophers were not high on Wozniak’s radar for most of the recruiting process, but the coaching staff was able to get the tight end to take an official visit.  After being blown away by the campus, he chose Minnesota over Miami (Fl.) and Purdue.

The addition of Under Armor All-American place kicker Ryan Santoso should also benefit the Gophers at a position that lacked consistency a year ago.

At six-foot-five and 270 lbs, Santoso is one of the more unique players in Minnesota’s class, but expect the Florida native to make an impact as a freshman.

 

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