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.
With eight days until national signing day, I caught up with CBS Sports Network's recruiting expert Tom Lemming today and got his thoughts. A sampling:
On QB Chris Streveler (Woodstock, Ill.)
"I watched him play this year," Lemming said. "He’s definitely a big-time quarterback with arm and running skills and could develop, just like last year when they brought in [Philip] Nelson."
On WR Drew Wolitarsky (Canyon Country, Calif.)
"He's not real fast, but he’s big and catches everything within reach," Lemming said. "We had him at a couple of our combines the last two years. I was impressed with him. He’s a red-zone type receiver who doesn’t drop passes."
On RB Berkley Edwards (Chelsea, Mich.)
"He's a small, compact and explosive running back," Lemming said. "All his strength is in his legs, and that’s what you want in a running back. He can run between the tackles effectively and has real good speed to cut it outside, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he [plays] next year."
On Minnesota's in-state talent
Lemming said it was the thinnest crop from within Minnesota's borders that he can remember.
"[Notre Dame recruit] James Onwualu is a very good player; after that, there’s a lot of question marks with everybody," he said. "Normally Minnesota’s better than Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana even. So this seems to be bad. I guess it’s cyclical, so maybe next year will be better."
On Wayzata LB Chris Wipson being the Gophers' only in-state scholarship commit
"Jerry Kill’s a very good recruiter," Lemming said. "That’s why Northern Illinois did so well this year; all those guys were his starters. And I think he knows where to get talent. If it’s not in Minnesota -- I know he’ll go there first, but the fact is, if it’s not Minnesota, it’s Illinois or Florida or something.
"The key is to go to the best talent, and if you win, nobody’s going to care. The only time they care is if you’re losing, and you’re not getting the top players in the state."
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