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.
Email Joe to talk about the Gophers.
Just last week, when asked about Gopher recruiting, Jerry Kill mentioned that results in October don't mean much, that commitments aren't real until signing day.
Friday came another example of what he meant. Quarterback Gunner Kiel of Columbus (Ind.) East High, widely considered the best skill-position prep talent in the country, informed Indiana coach Kevin Wilson that he is rescinding his verbal commitment to the Hoosiers and plans to visit other schools, according to the Indianapolis Star.
If Kiel ends up elsewhere, it's a crushing blow to Wilson's rebuilding efforts at a program with an even worse recent history than Minnesota's. Kiel's commitment back in July was celebrated as a potential breakthrough for the program. The first question asked of Wilson, who was not allowed to comment specifically about the QB, at the Big Ten's media sessions in July was about the supposed future star, and the first-year coach spoke in general terms about the recruiting jackpot for a couple of days.
And now Notre Dame (the rumored top suitor) or some other school can swoop in.
It just illustrates how difficult the task is for Kill -- and Wilson, and any program that's going through some losing seasons -- to attract top talent. In that way, Kiel's decision should be as depressing to Gopher fans as Hoosier fans.
Speaking of recruiting, scout.com reports that running back James Gillum, a 5-11 Louisianan who has rushed for more than 100 yards in four of the six games he has played this season for Mississippi Gulf Coast CC, has committed to the Gophers for next season. The sophomore has five touchdowns and 616 rushing yards this season.
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