Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.

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Kill thinks this recruiting class addresses need at linebacker

Posted by: Joe Christensen under Gophers recruiting Updated: February 6, 2013 - 4:00 PM

One of the Gophers main goals with this year’s recruiting class was addressing their linebacker corps. They had two outgoing senior starters at linebacker last year, in Keanon Cooper and Mike Rallis, along with backup linebackers Ryan Grant and Spencer Reeves.

Five of the 19 players in this recruiting are linebackers. Two are junior college transfers who have a decent shot at starting this fall:

De’Vondre Campbell -- Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College
Damien Wilson -- Jones County Junior College (Miss.)

Three are high school seniors who might need to redshirt and add some size.

Rayfield Dixon -- Loxahatchee Seminole Ridge (Fla.)
De’Niro Laster -- Cleveland Heights (Ohio)
Chris Wipson -- Wayzata

“Our linebacking corps, I really feel good about addressing that need,” Coach Jerry Kill said.

Kill compared it to last year, when the Gophers were replacing seven defensive backs and “hit the jackpot,” as he said, with their selections.

“On our board, we had eight or nine linebackers; we’re very fortunate that we were able to get five of those young men,” Kill said. “De’Vondre Campbell’s a young man I didn’t know if he would commit today or not."

Campbell has three years of eligibility remaining. He committed to Tennessee last May then switched to Texas and Kansas State before ultimately picking the Gophers. More on Campbell and the rest of this class in tonight's first editions.

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