Mount Union's Kehres keeps gaining

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 18, 2006 - 10:13 PM

John Gagliardi, 80, had another 11-victory season with St. John's. That put his all-time record for a college football coach at 443 victories.

Still, John lost four more victories to Mount Union's Larry Kehres in the chase for immortality. The Purple Raiders once again went 15-0 and won their ninth Division III national championship, including the eighth in the past 11 seasons.

Gagliardi has been more dominant in the MIAC over the past 15 years than at any time in his historic tenure in Collegeville. He has 157 victories in that time, an average of 10.4 per season.

Pretty good, right?

Kehres has 198 victories in those 15 years at Mount Union, an average of 13.2 per season. His victory total has soared to 246 (with 20 losses and three ties), and he's only 55.

JUCOs replace defectors

The recruiting classes of 2003 and 2004 would provide the seniors for college football teams next fall -- either redshirts or four-year players. There were 43 high school players who signed for scholarships and enrolled at Minnesota in those two years. Only 22 are left in the program.

That huge defection rate has left the Gophers short of talent. And that's the reason they have gone after junior college recruits as at no time previously in Gophers football history.

Assistant coach Craig Bray has received seven commitments -- and he's still in pursuit of Devin Bishop, a linebacker from the City College of San Francisco. According to gopherillustrated.com, he has offers from California, Missouri and Oregon.

The offers listed for some other JUCO recruits aren't quite as impressive. For instance:

The Gophers beat out Temple for receiver Marc Cheatham, Idaho State and Western Illinois for defensive end Eric Tanner and Temple and Washington State for linebacker Logan Uu.

Bottom line: The Gophers might be taking the rivalry that started with Temple this fall way too seriously.

Rucker finds the ball

One of the defectors from the 2003 Gophers recruiting class was Micah Rucker, a 6-6, 230-pound receiver from Estero, Fla. Rucker was redshirted, then played little in the 2004 and 2005 seasons. He had a total of four Minnesota receptions.

Rucker transferred to Eastern Illinois, the alma mater of those two current NFL legends, Tony Romo and Brad Childress.

Rucker's first game for the Division 1-AA Panthers was against Illinois. He had four catches for 105 yards. The junior wound up with 49 catches for 966 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Eastern Illinois won the Ohio Valley Conference at 7-1, and Rucker was among seven Panthers who were on the all-OVC first team.

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