Hartman: Gophers' Kill fought hard to land top recruits

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 6, 2014 - 12:41 AM

Jerry Kill found being honest with his health concerns worked to his advantage with players and their families.

hide

University of Minnesota head football coach Jerry Kill talked about the recruits that have signed to play at Minnesota.

Photo: Jerry Holt, DML - Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

It was a big week for Gophers football coach Jerry Kill. He not only was able to recruit his best squad in three years, but on Tuesday he drove a car for the first time in two years.

Kill hadn’t been behind the wheel because of his seizure problems. Now it’s under control, and he made a point when he went into a home of a recruit to discuss his seizures and convince the recruit and his parents that he will be coaching on the sidelines as long as their son is playing at Minnesota.

As for the players the Gophers signed on national signing day Wednesday, Kill said his recruiting plan was to go after specific needs. “Early, our first two years, we concentrated really on defense,” Kill said. “You have to be good on defense to have a chance to win in the Big Ten.

“We’ve gotten better on defense, we’ve focused a little more on offense. We knew we had to get explosive players, and we’ve done a good job of recruiting receivers and running backs, cold-weather skill players, and strengthened our offensive line. We feel very, very good about the class, it’s very athletic, it’s got a lot of length in it, it’s got a lot of explosive players in it.”

Kill said the Gophers have signed 20 players and hope to get one more.

“We’re going to be right where we need to be, because I’m going to put Pete Mortell on scholarship, our punter,” Kill said. “I did that at semester.”

There are many players the Gophers fought hard to get their signature. Of course one of the biggest names locally was Jeff Jones, the Minneapolis Washburn running back who was considered the best recruit in the state.

Asked to name a few other players, Kill noted Gaelin Elmore, a 6-foot-6, 246-pound tight end from Somerset, Wis.

“The Southeast Conference schools wanted him, all around Wisconsin, everybody, but we developed a relationship with him in the summer, he committed to us, and he stayed with his commitment,” Kill said. “A lot of kids don’t do that. He shut recruiting off.

Jerry Gibson, a young man from Alabama, went and visited South Carolina this past weekend and was offered a scholarship. We built a relationship and he’s coming here. He stayed committed. That was a big get for us.”

Kill said that Edwardsville, Ill., cornerback Craig James was recruited by several Big 12 schools but shut recruiting off. As for Canadian Julien Kafo, Kill said Nebraska tried to get in and visit him but that he shut them down and said, “I’m going to Minnesota.”

Connor Mayes of Van Alstyne, Texas, the younger brother of Gophers offensive lineman Alex Mayes, was “without a doubt one of the best centers in the country,” Kill said. “He was one of the top players in Texas, he was recruited by everybody.”

Kill also mentioned others, such as quarterback Dimonic Roden-McKinzy, who enrolled in January, and wide receivers Isaiah Gentry, Melvin Holland and Conner Krizancic.

On the defense, Kill said he believes the best defensive line class the Gophers have had in five or six years.

“This is the hardest we’ve worked at recruiting in a long time,” he said. “But you have to here. We’ve got to really work at it.”

Told the truth

Kill said he was up front about his seizures to recruits: “I go in and tell them. I don’t have any problem with that. I mean, it’s national news. I go in and I’m straightforward with people. That’s part of recruiting. Don’t care, go in and talk to them and tell them the truth.

“That didn’t affect recruiting one bit. Actually, it might have helped, because not everybody else might have talked about it. I told them. I’m not going to tell anybody to bring their son in here and not tell them the truth. So I think being honest sometimes, believe it or not, helps you. … Because not everybody’s straightforward, so it is what it is, and I’ve got a chip on my shoulder and so do these kids, we’ve all got a chip on our shoulder and that’s a good thing.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - LP: D. Hutchison 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 2 FINAL
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 10 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: M. Gonzalez 2
Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 1
Chicago WSox 10 Bottom 9th Inning
Tampa Bay 3
Cleveland 7 Bottom 8th Inning
Minnesota 2
Detroit 2 Bottom 7th Inning
Kansas City 4
Seattle 3 Bottom 7th Inning
Houston 4
Los Angeles 6 Top 7th Inning
Chicago Cubs 4
Texas 0 Top 5th Inning
LA Angels 0
Philadelphia 1 Top 3rd Inning
Oakland 3
San Francisco 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
San Diego 0
Arizona 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
Colorado 1
Cincinnati - A. Simon 7:05 PM
St. Louis - L. Lynn
San Diego 22 FINAL
Buffalo 10
Dallas 34 FINAL
St. Louis 31
Washington 34 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
Houston 17 FINAL
NY Giants 30
Minnesota 9 FINAL
New Orleans 20
Tennessee 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 33
Baltimore 23 FINAL
Cleveland 21
Green Bay 7 FINAL
Detroit 19
Indianapolis 44 FINAL
Jacksonville 17
Oakland 9 FINAL
New England 16
San Francisco 7 2nd Qtr 10:00
Arizona 6
Denver 3 1st Qtr 2:53
Seattle 3
Kansas City 0 1st Qtr 3:35
Miami 0
Pittsburgh 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Columbus 4 FINAL
Carolina 3
Buffalo 4:00 PM
Washington
St. Louis 5:30 PM
Columbus
Calgary 7:00 PM
Edmonton
Edmonton 7:00 PM
Calgary
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(12) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(9) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
(23) East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(20) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
(14) Miss State 34 FINAL
(17) LSU 29
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 FINAL
Arkansas State 21
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Ball State 23 FINAL
Toledo 34
(13) So Carolina 48 FINAL
Vanderbilt 34
(4) Oklahoma 45 FINAL
West Virginia 33
Ga Southern 28 FINAL
South Alabama 6
UNLV 14 FINAL
Houston 47
Miami-Florida 31 FINAL
(21) Nebraska 41
New Mexico 38 FINAL
New Mexico St 35
Clemson 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 23
California 45 FINAL
Arizona 49
San Diego St 7 FINAL
Oregon State 28
(2) Oregon 38 FINAL
Washington St 31
Louisiana 9 FINAL
Boise State 34
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Chivas USA 0 2nd Half 5:00
Toronto FC 3
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 8 9:44
Saskatchewan 3

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close